Running for mayor, one bike ride at a time

- Election Day in Minneapolis is just eight days away and there are 16 candidates on the ballot hoping to become the mayor.

Some of the candidates are household names, often featured in forums or advertisements.  

David John Wilson, however, is a first-time candidate who says he isn’t running, but “riding” for mayor instead, pledging to bike 1,000 miles in the city for his campaign under the "Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns” ticket. 

Wilson doesn't mind the stares as he rides through the city on his bicycle dressed like a unicorn, complete with a horned mask, an American flag and campaign signs. He calls it “Votey McVoteface.”

Wilson has a few alternating costumes, including a George Washington suit and wig. 

“Everybody who sees us, loves it. Just smiles and laughs,” he said, posing for pictures with passerby.

“Votey is my companion and my campaign manager,” Wilson said. “They see me and Votey, everybody waves and smiles. So hundreds if not thousands of people have had direct contact with me. I've embraced my city like I never imagined I could. That's a gift in itself. That's worth the money, and time and effort that I've spent on this.”

Candidates for mayor in Minneapolis had to either pay a $500 filing fee or get 500 signatures for a petition. 

Though Wilson enjoys the laughter, his mission is genuine. He’s long had a passion for politics and his city.

“I felt strongly that, rather than work at the polls--which I normally do--that I actually wanted to help turn out the vote using street theater,” Wilson said. 

Wilson has pledged to ride his unicorn bicycle 1,000 miles around the city. 

“I don't think I can win this election," Wilson said. "What I believe is that I can make a difference.”

To him, that difference is improving voter turnout and getting young people interested in politics. 

He personally identifies as a Democrat, but is running on the “Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns” ticket.

“Over the past few years I've heard people often use some variation of that to either make sarcastic remarks about a situation, or mock somebody with a different point of view,” Wilson said. “What I'm actually trying to do is reclaim that imagery for the things that the people of Minneapolis value. We value diversity, we have a love of nature, and we want to dream about a better future.”

Pehaps most importantly we asked Wilson, “What happens if you do win?” 

“Well if I do win, I actually have a background in political science, history and communications," Wilson said. "I know a lot about the city, and I'm confident I could lead."

Either way, he says, it's the journey that matters, not the destination.

“I would like to dream that I could be the mayor but that's not really what this is about," he said. "This is about getting out the vote, this is about embracing the city that I love."

Election day is next Tuesday, November 7th.

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