Incumbents fared well Tuesday in Duluth’s municipal primary elections, which propelled current Mayor Emily Larson into the general contest with strong support as she seeks a second term at the city’s helm.
Larson, the first female to hold the office in the city’s history, garnered 66% of the vote in the nine-candidate mayoral pool, according to unofficial results from the Duluth city clerk’s office. She will face David Nolle, a former executive director for Boy Scouts of America who earned 12% of primary votes Tuesday, in the general election on Nov. 5.
Incumbent City Council members Arik Forsman and Noah Hobbs will also advance to the general race after drawing in 26% and 24% of the primary vote, respectively, for the two at-large council seats up for election. They will go up against newcomers Derek Medved and Mike Mayou in November.
In Duluth’s Third District, two City Council candidates — Roz Randorf and Theresa O’Halloran-Johnson — won more primary votes than the two other contenders, setting up the pair for a face-off in the fall. The First and Fifth District seats are also up for election in November, but candidates did not appear on primary ballots because only two people are vying for each council spot.
About 8,000 people cast ballots for Tuesday’s elections, according to the city clerk’s office, bringing turnout for the primary to just above 13%. That’s a few points lower than in Duluth’s 2015 mayoral primary, when 16% of registered voters cast their ballots.
In a separate northeastern Minnesota election Tuesday, labor organizer Keith Musolf narrowly won the Fifth District seat on the St. Louis County Board that U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber left when he was elected to represent state’s Eighth Congressional District.
Musolf’s 994 votes in the special election allowed him to squeak by to victory over former Hermantown police officer and City Council member Wayne Boucher, who earned 905 votes, according to unofficial results from the Minnesota Secretary of State.
The county’s Fifth District includes residents of multiple cities and townships, including Hermantown, Rice Lake, Proctor, Canosia and parts of Duluth. The County Board seat will be up for election again in 2020, when Stauber’s term was scheduled to end.