With no clear winner as of Tuesday night, Jamal Osman led in the first-choice votes to join the Minneapolis City Council and represent one of the most diverse pockets in the city.
Osman and ten other candidates were running in a competitive special election to represent the Sixth Ward on the council. The seat has sat empty since April, when Abdi Warsame left the council for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.
Like previous municipal races, the Sixth Ward race was ranked choice, meaning voters ranked their three favorite candidates. If no candidate received the majority of the first-choice votes, bottom-ranking candidates would be eliminated until a candidate reached the required number of votes.
That was the case on Tuesday, with two candidates splitting 50% of the first-choice votes. Osman, a resident advocate for Commonbond Communities, received 28.5% of the votes, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s unofficial results. AJ Awed, a fellow with the American Arbitration Association, had 21.9%.
Following them were Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner AK Hassan with 13.9% of the first-choice votes, and Abdirizak Bihi with 13.5%.
The city will not tabulate the ballots and have the final results until Friday, when more mail-in ballots are received.
After the precincts reported Tuesday night, Osman thanked his campaign, saying voters had a difficult choice to make.
“Early numbers look good, but every vote needs to be counted,” he said.
Awed called it “a twilight position to be in.”
“It’s very much surreal,” he said. “I think we did a great job of appealing to a coalition that was really energized by the message we were sharing.”
Hassan, who led in the number of second- and third-choice votes, said he was unsure of what would happen next but was excited about his performance thus far.
Whoever comes out on top will join a council navigating the coronavirus pandemic, the rebuilding of destroyed businesses, police reform and the 2021 budget. The winning candidate will likely be sworn in to the 13-seat council by the end of August.
The Sixth Ward includes the neighborhoods of Cedar-Riverside, Elliot Park, Phillips West, Seward, Stevens Square and Ventura Village.