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Two St. Paul endorsements differ on council race but agree on Coleman for mayor

Service Employees union goes with Dai Thao in Ward 1; St. Paul Chamber likes Noel Nix.

New endorsements were announced today in the St. Paul city election on Nov. 5.

Two candidates get some support in the Ward 1 race, where seven candidates are competing to fill the remaining two years in the term of Melvin Carter III, who left this summer to take a state education job.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council endorses Dai Thao, an IT manager who’s worked on progressive causes. Said Jigme Ugen, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota:

“Among a range of candidates, Dai Thao has emerged as the clear choice for SEIU members in Ward 1. He is a champion of the values working families hold dear — diversity, equality, dignity and courage. Listening to Dai speak of his vision for Ward 1, I was awed and inspired. He is a born leader and someone who wants to bring the whole community together, to find strength through diversity, to pursue opportunities for our children.”

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Because of Ranked Choice Voting —  voters can choose first, second and third choices on the ballot — the SEIU also offers a second choice in the race: Noel Nix, who was Carter’s council aide.

The St. Paul Area Chamber PAC takes a different tack and endorses just one candidate — Nix:

Prior to working at City Hall, Noel gained experience in the private and nonprofit sectors working on housing and economic development issues. That background will serve him and the City of Saint Paul well at a time when Ward 1 has the opportunity to leverage huge public and private investments along University Avenue and the Central Corridor LRT Green Line.
“Noel has established a track record of reaching out to the business community to address challenging issues in Ward 1, and he understands the importance of removing barriers to economic growth that provide jobs and strengthen the city’s tax base,” said Brian McClung, Chair of the Saint Paul Area Chamber PAC.

Also running in the council race are:

  • Paul Holmgren, who once ran for the state House; he has city Republican endorsement but is not the NHL player who’s a St. Paul native.
  • Johnny Howard, activist running with Green Party endorsement.
  • Kazoua Kong-Thao, former St. Paul School Board member.
  • Debbie Montgomery, former one-term city council member; retired police officer.
  • Mark Voerding, former aide to former District 1 Council Member Bill Wilson; now an aide to County Commissioner Janice Rettman.

In the mayor’s race, both groups endorsed Mayor Chris Coleman, who’s expected to have an easy time winning a third term against challengers Sharon Anderson, Kurt “Dirty Kurty” Dornfeld and Tim Holden,

In the contested school board race, five candidates, including two incumbents, are seeking three spots.

The Chamber endorsed incumbent Jean O’Connell, while SEIU endorsed the DFL-nominated trio of O’Connell, incumbent John Brodrick and Chue Vue.

Also running are:

  • Terrance Bushard, who ran for city council in 2007.
  • Greg Copeland, chair of St. Paul Republican City Committee.