Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All Minneapolis council incumbents seeking reelection won.


Barbara Johnson has again claimed the Fourth Ward seat on the Minneapolis City Council thanks to second-choice votes, a development that means all 10 incumbents seeking reelection will return to the council.

Johnson hit nearly 53 percent of the vote with second choices made by voters for Grant Cermak and Marcus Harcus, two candidates dropped after trailing in the first round. The hand-counted results of ranked-choice voting were released late Monday by city election officials.

As in the neighboring Fifth Ward, the only other where the incumbent missed gaining a majority of first-choice votes, Johnson won even though the last remaining challenger, Troy Parker, picked up more second-choice votes than Johnson. Parker gained an additional 331 to her 194, but because she tallied nearly 47 percent of first-choice votes, Johnson needed fewer votes to win than Parker, who finished with 38 percent.

Johnson is the current council president, but that didn't keep her from becoming one of the two incumbents to fall short of a majority in the first-choice vote count. The other was Fifth Ward Council Member Don Samuels.

Parker and Harcus portrayed Johnson as out of touch with the changing demographics of her ward. She campaigned on the city's recent drop in crime, water quality improvements and her leadership in holding accountable landlords who rent to disruptive tenants.

"I'm really very pleased, and I just can't say enough to thank the volunteers and the professionals who helped me," said Johnson, who won every precinct.

Johnson has been an opponent of ranked-choice voting, the new balloting system in which voters rank up to three candidates. She said she thinks the election suffered without a primary in which voters could vet candidates. Parker could not be reached for comment.

The results are unofficial until the city's canvassing board meets next month, but other council incumbents haven't needed second-choices to win.

Nine DFLers and one Green Party endorsee, Cam Gordon, will return to the council. Three DFL endorsees for open seats -- Kevin Reich in the First Ward, Meg Tuthill in the 10th Ward and John Quincy in the 11th Ward -- came out on top. Only Reich, who was close to the required majority for election, still awaits the results of hand-counting. A count released Monday showed Tuthill had accumulated 72 percent of first-choice votes to win her seat handily, and Quincy last week had 64 percent in his ward.

The first Park Board race result to be released was in the Cedar-Isles area, where newcomer Anita Tabb won. She was unopposed, but there were 131 write-in votes.

Copyright 2009 Star Tribune

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