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Candidates continue to crowd into St. Paul’s Ward 1 council race

The prospect of an open St. Paul City Council seat is attracting more attention than we’ve seen in a city campaign in some time.

There appear to be nine interested candidates now, which will prove very interesting with the city’s ranked-choice voting method, which will take into account voters’ second and third choices in the likely event that no one gets more than 50 percent of first choices. Ramsey County has information on ranked choice voting here.

Incumbent Council Member Melvin Carter III is stepping down July 5 to take a job in the state Education Department.

Under city rules, the City Council can appoint a temporary member after Carter leaves; if the council doesn’t act, the mayor can appoint the successor. Voters will then elect a new council member to fill out the remaining two years in the term in the Nov. 5 city election.

It would be seen as a big advantage — the value of incumbency — if the council or mayor appoints one of the announced candidates to the four-month temporary council spot.

Latest on the candidate radar is Matt Hill, a member of the Heritage Preservation Commission. He’s cultural fund manager at the Minnesota Historical Society and says his platform is “Education, Economy, Equality.”

Hill told me his campaign is official, as of today: “I put my name out there and hope to contribute some ideas to the campaign  and see where it gets me.”

Also in is Mark Voerding, a former aide to Ward 1 Council Member Bill Wilson in the 1980s and now an aide to Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman.

They join:

  • Debbie Montgomery, former Ward 1 Council Member and retired police officer.
  • Kazoua Kong-Thao, a former school board member
  • Johnny Howard, who ran against Carter two years ago
  • Noel Nix, Carter’s council aide
  • Dai Thao, an IT manager who’s worked on progressive causes

Also reported as possible candidates are Rev. Devin Miller, an activist and former school board and mayoral candidate; and Paul Holmgren, who previously ran for a state House seat.

As of Thursday morning, only Hill and Montgomery have filed campaign finance reports.

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