Two days after Minneapolis voters went to the polls to elect a new mayor, the city has declared DFLer Betsy Hodges the unofficial winner of the contest.
Hodges, a city council member, had been the frontrunner in the 35-candidate race to succeed Mayor R.T. Rybak since the first round of ballots were counted. But because the city uses a ranked-choice voting method where voters choose their three favorite candidates in order of preference, tabulations to declare the winner took longer than usual.
Election officials had expected to conclude the tabulation of the mayor's race on Wednesday night, but said the large number of people running for the office made it difficult to finish the count on time.
Hodges won in the 33rd round of counting with 48.95 percent of the vote. Her closest competitor, Mark Andrew, earned the support of 31.44 percent of voters.
She already had celebrated her win on Wednesday night at a brewery in northeast Minneapolis after her main competitors, DFlers Mark Andrew and Don Samuels, conceded.
In a statement issued after 10 p.m. Thursday, Hodges thanked her opponents, saying it was "an honor to be in the field with them." And she looked ahead to when she'll take over from Mayor Rybak:
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"On January Second it will be my job to live my gratitude by doing what I said I’d do: Work with you, the community, to build and grow Minneapolis. To bring more people here based on the common ground, building on our progress to create an ever greater city as one Minneapolis."
Newly re-elected St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Hodges went to lunch together today to talk about how the cities can work together to benefit the entire region.
The Minneapolis City Council still needs to certify the results, which is expected to happen Tuesday.
The city's election officials are not done. Next they'll start counting the ranked choice ballots in three Minneapolis City Council contests, one race at a time.