Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame's Election Day victory will stand after an attorney for his opponent withdrew a challenge to the results midway through a ballot recount Tuesday.
But the opponent, Mohamud Noor, said he has not given up, and claimed to have evidence that more than 100 Sixth Ward voters did not live in the south Minneapolis ward that includes parts of the Seward, Phillips and Cedar Riverside neighborhoods.
Warsame said he was "delighted" with the result of the recount.
"We followed the process throughout the campaign, from caucus night to the convention to election night to recount day," Warsame said. "We were confident in the process and we're confident right now."
Noor requested the recount and paid a $7,000 deposit last week to make it happen after he was defeated by 239 votes at the end of a contentious campaign.
Warsame, when he was elected in 2013, was the first Somali-American to win office in a major U.S. city. He was challenged by Noor, a former school board member, who had counted Warsame as a political ally in the past. Warsame won with 3,629 votes to Noor's 3,390.
The recount began Tuesday morning when election staff wheeled a dolly stacked with boxes of ballots out of a locked room to a table where they were counted and then sent to tables where staff, under observation from representatives of the two campaigns, sorted the ballots into piles for each candidate. The room was quiet, with stretches where the only sound was the rustling of paper ballots.
The recount focused first on three precincts in the Sixth Ward. After those were counted, Warsame had the same number of votes and Noor had one fewer. Noor's attorney withdrew the challenge before the other precincts were counted.
Noor said Tuesday, however, that he had reviewed voter data and possessed evidence that "at least 100 people appear to have voted in our election who do not live in Ward 6." He said a recount cannot address such "irregularities," and he has filed a lawsuit.
"I think we need to seriously look into the irregularities and we want to get to the bottom of them," Noor said. "And that's why we filed the court case."
Warsame, who is listed as the defendant in the lawsuit, said he is not worried.
"The people's voice has been heard, our opponent lost, and it's up to him how he deals with that loss," Warsame said. "He called for a recount, and he called off the recount. It's becoming amusing."
The recount was public and took place at the Early Vote Center, 217 S. Third St. in downtown Minneapolis.
Casey Carl, the Minneapolis City Clerk, said that a city attorney appeared in court last week for the case, but that Noor provided more detail in a Facebook post Tuesday than he did in the court filing.
"I really can't even speculate on what will happen, because this is nothing I've experienced before," Carl said.