After a fast-paced campaign season that unexpectedly made national headlines, Mitra Jalali Nelson was poised Tuesday night to join the St. Paul City Council.
Nelson and Shirley Erstad competed for the Fourth Ward seat vacated by Russ Stark, who left the council in February to work for Mayor Melvin Carter.
David Martinez, a third candidate whose series of arrests leading up to the election drew attention to the race, came in a distant third.
Nelson, a staffer in U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s office, and Erstad, the executive director of a parks nonprofit, are both DFLers.
Nelson, 32, supports a citywide $15 minimum wage and made housing affordability and tenants’ rights central to her campaign.
Erstad, 51, has a long track record of involvement in neighborhood and city issues, ranging from parks to government transparency.
The winner will take office in late August or early September.
Hassan, Noor win; Loonan ousted
In Minneapolis state House races, DFL candidate Hodan Hassan won the primary for the seat held by retiring Rep. Karen Clark, and Mohamud Noor was the DFL Party’s pick for Rep. Ilhan Omar’s seat. Practically guaranteed November victories in the DFL strongholds, Hassan would become the second Somali-American woman elected to the Legislature and Noor would become the first Somali-American man. In a GOP primary race for a legislative seat in Shakopee, Republican endorsee Erik Mortensen ousted incumbent Rep. Bob Loonan.
Jessie Van Berkel
RAMSEY AND HENNEPIN COUNTIES
Incumbents sneak through to November
One of the longest-serving members of the Ramsey County Board was fighting Tuesday to keep her seat.
Janice Rettman, who has been on the board since 1997, narrowly beat out Jennifer Nguyen Moore to remain on the ballot in the Third District. DFL-endorsed Navy veteran Trista MatasCastillo, a political newcomer, was the top vote-getter. MatasCastillo and Rettman will face off in November for the seat.
In Hennepin County, five candidates vied for the Second District seat held by Linda Higgins who is retiring. DFL-endorsed community activist Irene Fernando won the race, with former Minneapolis City Council member Blong Yang coming in second. In Hennepin County’s Fourth District, longtime commissioner Peter McLaughlin came in first, trailed closely by county employee Angela Conley. McLaughlin failed in May to secure the DFL nomination for the first time in his 27 years on the board.
GREG STANLEY and EMMA NELSON
Voters turn out in droves for primary
Minnesota voters turned out in droves for Tuesday’s primary, breaking a 20-year record for primary participation with an estimated 21.5 percent of voters casting ballots, the Secretary of State’s Office said. The last time the state exceeded 20 percent turnout in a primary election was 1998.