Leaders emerge in Mpls. school primary

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2012 - 8:58 AM

Bates, Mann advance in race for citywide seat; Wycoff, Reimnitz advance in race for district seat.

Carla Bates

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Incumbent Carla Bates easily topped the field in her bid for a second term on the Minneapolis school board in Tuesday's primary voting while Patty Wycoff and Josh Reimnitz advanced in the new downtown-Isles district.

Doug Mann advanced with Bates to the general election for the citywide seat on the November ballot. Wycoff held a substantial lead over Reimnitz for the district seat, with the top two advancing, while William Lange trailed.

The 2012 elections will complete the board's shift from one in which all members were elected citywide to one of six district and three citywide members. That transition began with 2010 elections, but the Reimnitz-Wycoff seat was the first district seat needing a primary to winnow the field.

"I'm thrilled. I'm absolutely thrilled," Wycoff said after attracting more than twice Reimnitz's tally. She attributed her margin to long residence in the district and her commitment to community and schools.

"I'm a bit surprised," Reimnitz said. "We've been working really hard for months." However, the general election turnout often dwarfs that of the primary and brings out voters who are less ideologically driven.

Wycoff, 43, lives in Bryn Mawr and works there as a part-time coordinator for the neighborhood association, logging hundreds of hours as a school volunteer. Reimnitz, 26, lives in Elliott Park and helps lead a nonprofit youth development agency. Both have taught, she as a substitute in Minneapolis and Richfield and he as a Teach for America teacher in Atlanta.

There was no DFL endorsement in the contest. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers endorsed Wycoff, while those favoring more changes in the teacher contract backed Reimnitz.

Bates was expected to easily survive the primary, carrying the DFL endorsement that has proven decisive in school elections for the past 25 years. She's 50, lives in the Seward neighborhood and works at the University of Minnesota. Mann, 55, is a nurse who lives in the Folwell neighborhood. Janice Mae Harmon, 40, and Willis Trueblood, 71, failed to advance.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

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