Pregnant and campaigning: Council candidate door-knocks for two

Lisa Bender is 28 weeks pregnant, but that's not slowing down her campaign in Minneapolis Ward 10

Bender marches in the recent Minneapolis Pride parade Credit: Submitted photo

Lisa Bender is 28 weeks pregnant, but that’s not slowing her down as she tries to knock on every door in the Uptown area.  

Bender is in a hotly contested Minneapolis City Council race as she takes on incumbent Meg Tuthill for the Ward 10 seat. She’s also planning to give birth to her second daughter some time in late September.

“I’m planning to continue door-knocking and campaigning until I deliver,” said Bender, 35. “Actually, walking is fantastic for pregnant women. It helps support a healthy pregnancy.”

Bender plans to mostly keep up her pace of door knocking for three hours every weeknight plus longer jaunts on the weekends. The recent heat isn’t slowing her, she said.

“It’s been hot, so I carry a big huge water bottle and keep hydrated,” Bender said.

Campaigning while pregnant is a relative breeze to Bender when compared with her first pregnancy.

Three years ago, Bender was pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat the cancer and gave birth to Alice, who is now a healthy two-year-old.  

“Running for office is unusual while pregnant, but for us it’s all positive,” she said. “Having been through that very stressful first pregnancy, this doesn’t seem daunting to us.”

Bender, who won the DFL endorsement over Tuthill in April, plans to take a about a week off after she gives birth. She plans to work the phones while recovering in early October, but wants to door knock again before the Nov. 5 election.

“My midwives think I might be able to start door knocking again in October,” she said. “We’ll play that by ear, but our plan is that I will at least be on the phone talking to voters, and then my team will be out door-knocking in October.”

If elected, Bender would take office in January. She wouldn’t be the first City Council member with a newborn. Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) has twice been pregnant while serving on the City Council, once in 2008 and once in 2011. 

Bender said by January she will be ready to take office.

“By the time I take office, the baby will be ready for day care and would have gone to daycare anyway at that time.”