Updated 6:49 p.m. | Posted 1:54 p.m.
Jacob Frey is the next mayor of Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis City Council member emerged Wednesday from a crowded field of contenders as the winner of Tuesday's election — a contest in which the city's ranked-choice voting system added to the drama.
Under ranked-choice, since none of the Minneapolis candidates won a majority of votes in the initial count Tuesday night, election officials needed to continue moving through the ballots, counting voters' secondary choices until one candidate snagged a majority. It left city residents hanging about the final results.
Frey had been leading in first-choice votes Tuesday night. By Wednesday afternoon, election officials said the tabulation of second- and third-choice results showed Frey the winner, defeating incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges, candidate Tom Hoch, state lawmaker Raymond Dehn and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds.
After five rounds of tabulations, Frey and Dehn were the remaining candidates left in the process. Frey tallied 46,716 votes, Dehn came in at 34,971 out of a total of 104,522 votes cast, according to the unofficial results.
"I do think that people were looking for a fresh start right now," Frey told MPR News Wednesday afternoon. "We have become a divided city ... people were looking for a bridge builder."
Frey did not win an absolute majority of voters. However, he noted that his campaign had built a precinct-by-precinct coalition across the city, which "sends a strong message that we're looking for a very results-oriented approach, and we're looking for a little bit of unity and love right now."
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Frey, 36, grew up in northern Virginia the oldest of three children. A professional runner, he moved to Minneapolis in 2009 to work as an attorney after first visiting the city in 2006 to run the Twin Cities Marathon. In 2013, he won the Ward 3 City Council seat, defeating incumbent Diane Hofstede.
Frey put affordable housing among the key issues in his mayoral campaign, saying the city had lost 10,000 units of affordable housing in the last 15 years and needed a consistent solution.
He also called for the city's planning and regulation authorities to offer people mixed and convenient land use and easy access to the sharing and gig economy.
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Frey, a DFLer, also argued for changes in housing, employment and educational policy to help roll back the city's legacy of segregation and racial disparities.
On Wednesday, he emphasized improving public safety and police-community relations.
"We want to make community policing more that just a catch phrase," he said. "We want to be narrowing the beat of each individual officer and placing them on consistent schedules and times. I want people to know that their officer on Mondays, Tuesday and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. is Jenny. I want you to know Jenny. I want you to know her by name."
He also put adding affordable housing around the city as a priority.
"I believe when you have 1,000 different backgrounds at the table, that's when great ideas take shape. That's when entrepreneurship is triggered, and that's when our city is really going to rock."
Following the final count Wednesday, Hodges congratulated Frey and said she was "committed to a smooth transition." She added that her administration had "made real change, and lasting change in our city," including a $15 minimum wage ordinance and a new police chief.
Counts on all races are expected to be finished by Friday. The city's election services also posted unofficial winners of City Council seats from Tuesday night's vote. They are:
• Ward 1: Kevin Reich
• Ward 2: Cam Gordon
• Ward 3: Steve Fletcher
• Ward 4: Philippe M. Cunningham
• Ward 5: Jeremiah Ellison
• Ward 6: Abdi Warsame
• Ward 7: Lisa Goodman
• Ward 8: Andrea Jenkins
• Ward 9: Alondra Cano
• Ward 10: Lisa Bender
• Ward 11: Jeremy Schroeder
• Ward 12: Andrew Johnson
• Ward 13: Linea Palmisano