Only 18 votes separated a winner and a loser in a hotly contested City Council race in St. Anthony.
The tight margin has candidate Nancy Robinett seeking a recount. Robinett fell to third place Tuesday in the battle among six candidates for two City Council seats, snagging 989 votes to finish behind incumbent Jan Jenson’s 1,007 votes. Randy Stille, the other incumbent seeking re-election, led the pack with 1,211 votes.
Robinett, an immigration lawyer, submitted her recount request Wednesday to Ramsey County Elections Manager Joseph Mansky, with the recount planned for Nov. 17. Because the margin separating the two candidates is so slim, the county will bear the costs of the recount, which are expected to total less than $1,000, Mansky said.
The recount will be done by hand, so that candidates can see how each ballot is marked.
“It was such a close race,” said Robinett, a founding member of the grass-roots group St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action. “It’s within the margin where people want to know for sure.”
The City Council contest in the suburb of 8,600 centered on debates over policing, affordable housing and racial equity. Over the last year, St. Anthony has been rocked by the 2016 fatal shooting of Philando Castile by one of its police officers as well as the controversial closure of its only mobile home park in June.
A third seat on the five-member council will also be filled in the coming months after the resignation of Bonnie Brever this summer.