Coleman wins second term as mayor by a 2-1 margin

  • Article by: CHRIS HAVENS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2009 - 2:04 PM

Chris Coleman will serve another four-year term, during which he will focus on bringing the Central Corridor light-rail line to fruition, expanding educational programs and fixing the city's finances.

He has called the job the highest honor a St. Paul kid can have, and Chris Coleman, born and raised in Minnesota's capital city, will get to be mayor for a second term.

Voters lifted Coleman, 48, to victory Tuesday by a margin of more than 2-1 over challenger Eva Ng. He was unopposed for the DFL endorsement.

Throughout his campaign he has stood by policies and initiatives he launched during a rough economic time, despite criticism of property tax increases each year of his administration.

"I'm very happy with the affirmation from voters that they like what we've done for the last four years and that they want that work to continue," Coleman said from his victory party at the St. Paul Hotel.

He celebrated at the same hotel when he won his first mayoral election in 2005. Then, he defeated incumbent Randy Kelly, a DFLer who had endorsed President Bush in 2004, by nearly the same margin with which he surpassed Ng (unofficially 69 percent to 31 percent of the vote).

Coleman said he planned to have a little fun Tuesday night and "get back to work tomorrow."

He plans to focus on helping to move the Central Corridor light-rail line forward. It would connect the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Coleman has said the $1 billion project will spur private investment and revitalization along University Avenue.

He also will continue to work on expanding after-school educational programs for students and wrestle with the city's finances.

Coleman has been a City Council member and president of the District Seven Planning Council, which includes Frogtown.

In addition to six years as a City Council member, the mayor, who is a lawyer by trade, was a Hennepin County public defender for a time, and also worked as a financial adviser to nonprofits.

Long considered a candidate for governor in 2010, Coleman ended speculation last month when he said he wouldn't pursue the higher office.

For Ng, 51, it was her first foray into politics. A chemical engineer by training, she has spent the past 30 years in the business world as a troubleshooter and executive.

She campaigned on her business skills and earned an endorsement from the St. Paul Republican City Committee.

"We are disappointed," she said from Fabulous Fern's. "We gave it everything we had."

She said that she told Coleman he can call anytime and that she will share her ideas. As for what comes next, she said, "I have options."

Low turnout

Turnout was about 17 percent, said Joe Mansky, elections manager for Ramsey County. That is low compared with the 2005 election, when 28 percent of voters showed up, he added.

Chris Havens • 612-673-4148

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