Incumbent Chris Coleman was re-elected mayor of St. Paul for a third term in a-landslide on Tuesday, Nov. 5, receiving 78 percent of the vote with all 97 precincts reporting.
His closest challenger, Tim Holden, ran as an Independent and received 16 percent of the vote. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) endorsed Coleman.
The Star Tribune reported the priorities that Coleman has outlined for his third term on Wednesday. These include gaining private funding and development for the light rail Green Line and Saint’s downtown ball park, closing the public school achievement gap between white and minority students, redeveloping four key downtown sites, and improving efficiency of government affairs.
Macalester student Abigail Stowe-Thurston ’16 began interning on Coleman’s campaign in September. Her duties included making phone calls and knocking on doors to give out information about candidates.
“I can’t say that I was surprised by the results because we had a lot of really positive responses when we were talking to people around the city,” she said, “But it was pleasant to see that our hard work paid off.”
Additionally, three DFL candidates—newcomer Chue Vue and incumbents Jean O’Connell and John Brodrick—were elected to the St. Paul school board with little competition from their opponents, Terrance Bushard and Republican-endorsed Greg Copeland.
Uncommon for a year with a mayoral election, residents of St. Paul Ward 1 voted on a City Council Member. The position opened after Melvin Carter III resigned last summer to take a job with the state government.
As of press time, the race to represent Ward 1 remains a close call between Noel Nix, the current Ward 1 legislative aide, and Dai Thao, a political newcomer and community organizer. The winner will be announced after election officials consider ranked choices on Monday.
Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank their top three candidates. In this system, a candidate must garner over 50 percent of votes in order to win, or else ballots are counted for a second round. In this round, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated, and the second choices of voters who initially voted for the eliminated candidate are distributed to the respective candidates.
In Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges won 36 percent of first-choice votes in a race of 35 candidates. Her closest opponent Mark Andrew informally acknowledged her victory within two hours after polls closed. As of press time, Hodges had 37 percent of the vote with many votes left to be redistributed before a formal announcement was made. For current election results, go to vote.minneapolismn.gov.
Abdi Warsame became the highest elected Somali-American in the country after winning a
seat on the Minneapolis City Council with 64 percent of first-choice votes.
“I’m an American who happens to be Somali… This is my base and I’m proud of that,” Warsame said. “But I’m here to represent everyone in my ward. If I don’t, I will have failed.”
Official statistics are not available for voter turnout, but The Mac Weekly calculated a 19.73 percent turnout in St. Paul and 22.98 percent turnout in Macalester’s precinct using data on total registered voters. These numbers do not reflect same-day registration and are not official statistics released by Ramsey County.
While the precinct appears to have voted above the citywide average, Jordan Fong ’17 said he felt like he did not have enough knowledge about the community and the issues at stake to make a decision.
“I think being an active citizen is very important,” he said. “I researched candidates, but in the end I feel my lack of experience in the Twin Cities hinged my ability to choose a candidate. I didn’t want to make an uninformed decision and end up doing more harm than good.”