Several Mayor Hodges campaign staffers quit as Election Day approaches

- Early voting starts Friday morning in Minneapolis for a variety of contests, including mayor.

More than a dozen candidates are trying to oust Mayor Betsy Hodges from office. Just as the voting polls prepare to open, reports of staffers quitting Hodges’ re-election campaign have surfaced.

Hodges’ communications director, Alex West Steinman, confirmed several staffers left the campaign, but says the campaign team is fully staffed.

A former staffer told Fox 9 two campaign workers allegedly resigned in the last few days because they weren’t being paid.

Hodges’ campaign spokeswoman says that's not true writing quote, "We have never missed payroll agreements, and we will continue to honor our agreements with staff and consultants."

But a former staffer told Fox 9 the mayor's campaign is a mess. He says he left for many reasons including quote, "She was $70,000 in the hole at the beginning of the year and her campaign infrastructure was non-existent. Betsy Hodges will blame everyone but herself for the situation she is in, but it is clear that her and her team put themselves in this situation.”

Despite the turmoil, one political expert says she can still win.

"If she can get probably about 22 percent of the vote in the election and is the second choice of most people voting in Minneapolis, she probably wins the election," said Professor David Schultz of Hamline University.

Professor Schultz says he's done the math several different ways and with the rank choice voting in place, Hodges still has the best chance of winning in Minneapolis.

Schultz says her challengers have not made a huge splash in this race. 

"[The voters] don't know all the other alternative candidates and there's that old expression,” said Schultz. “It's better to have the devil you know rather than the devil you don't know."

Early voting starts on Friday and this year marks the first time for no excuse absentee voting, which means you don’t need a statutory reason to vote early. For more information on early voting, click here.

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