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Twin Cities results: Minneapolis passes ballot questions; new members elected to Hennepin County Board

Plus: Kim Ellison retains seat and newcomer Sharon El-Amin wins one on Minneapolis Public Schools board. 

Minneapolis City Council
MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
The approval of the first ballot measure means the City Council election in 2023 will also be for a second 2-year term — following the one decided in the 2021 election.

A large majority of Minneapolis voters approved two ballot measures Tuesday. One question asked residents to change City Charter language to mirror state law, which requires all cities to hold special elections for council and mayoral vacancies on already state-approved election days. That measure, with 136 of 136 precincts reporting, passed with 75 percent of the vote.

The other question on the ballot was far more consequential, determining whether City Council elections will be decoupled from mayor elections after 2021, when a state law requiring Minneapolis to hold City Council and Park Board elections soon after city redistricting will force council members to run for two-year terms. That question was approved with 86 percent of the vote.

The approval of latter measure means the City Council election in 2023 will also be for a 2-year term — following the one in 2021. In 2025, however, when the mayoral election is back on the ballot, council elections would revert to a four-year term, once again synching the city’s election schedule.

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If the amendment had been voted down, council seats would have been on the ballot in 2021, 2023, 2027 and 2031. Voters would have had to go to the polls in 2025 to elect a mayor, and they would have had to return again in 2027 to fill council seats. The city has never had staggered races like that, and wished to avoid the extra cost and potential voter fatigue that would come with it.

Minneapolis City Council seats will now be on the ballot in 2021, 2023, 2025, 2029, 2033, 2037 and 2041, with the last of those also being for a two-year term.

Hennepin County Board

The open races to fill seats on the seven-member Hennepin County Board had several close elections.

In District 1, an area that includes the communities of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, New Hope, Osseo and Robbinsdale, Jeff Lunde currently holds a slim lead over De’Vonna Pittman, 50.83 percent to 48.76 percent.

The race for the District 7 seat — representing Champlin, Corcoran, Dayton, Greenfield, Independence, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetrista, Southern Mound, Rogers, St. Bonifacius, Hanover, Northwest Plymouth and Rockford — was also closely contested. With all precincts reporting, Kevin Anderson led with 51.38 percent of the vote, with Danny Nadeau at 48.19 percent.

Other races were less competitive. In District 6, Chris LaTondresse was leading Darion Anselmo 52.55 to 46.97 percent. The seat represents Edina, Minnetonka, Hopkins, Wayzata, Orono, Mound, Excelsior, Shorewood, Greenwood, Spring Park, Deephaven, Minnetonka Bay, Long Lake and the northern part of Eden Prairie.

District 5, which represents the communities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie and Richfield, had the lone incumbent facing a challenger, though Debbie Goettel was never in danger of losing her seat to her challenger, Boni Njenga. With all precincts reporting, Goettel had 73 percent of the vote.

Ramsey County Board

With 22 of 25 precincts reported, Ramsey County Commissioner District 1 incumbent Nicole Joy Frethem had 65 percent of the vote over challenger Dennis Dunnigan’s 33 percent as of 12:30 a.m. Last fall, Frethem had won a special election to fill a vacated seat, which represents Arden Hills, Gem Lake, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township, and parts of Mounds View, Spring Lake Park and Blaine.

In District 2, Mary Jo McGuire will retain her seat, representing Lauderdale, Little Canada, New Brighton, Roseville, parts of New Brighton and a chunk of St. Anthony. She had 70 percent of the vote to Dan McGrath’s 29 percent with 16 of 24 precincts reporting.

And in District 7, Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt was well ahead of challenger Kevin Berglund, with 64 percent of the votes to his 34 percent with all 24 precincts reporting. Reinhardt has represented District 7 — which includes Maplewood, North Saint Paul, White Bear Lake and the Hillcrest area of Saint Paul — since 1996.

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School board results

In the Minneapolis Public Schools board race, at-large incumbent Kim Ellison secured a clear lead over her challenger, Michael Dueñes. With results from all precincts in, she had a lead of more than 42,000 votes with 61 percent of the vote to Dueñes’ 38 percent. One-term incumbent Ira Jourdain — who had no challenger — will also hold on to his seat.

Kim Ellison
Kim Ellison
Newcomer Sharon El-Amin has upset incumbent KerryJo Felder for a seat representing District 2. With results from all precincts in, she had a lead of 2,524 over Felder. El-Amin ran, unsuccessfully, for an at-large seat in 2018. She is a small-business owner. 

Two newcomers vying for the District 4 seat ended up having the most competitive race. With all precinct results in, early results show Adriana Cerrillo, a community organizer who owns a consulting business, in the lead. She has 226 more votes than Christa Mims, a Hennepin County education support manager — a margin smaller than the 270 write-in votes cast for this race. 

Keep in mind that mail-in ballots received up to seven days after Election Day will still be counted and may impact early results. MinnPost will update this story to reflect any changes in outcomes. 

In the St. Paul Public Schools board race, only one seat is in play this fall: former board member Marny Xiong’s seat, which the board appointed Jim Vue to fill temporarily after Xiong died from COVID-19 in June. With 23 percent of the vote, as of Wednesday morning, Vue beat out five competitors for this seat.