St. Paul voters returned at least five incumbents to the City Council Tuesday, while another held the lead in his race.
With all precincts reporting, Council President Amy Brendmoen and council members Mitra Jalali Nelson, Rebecca Noecker, Jane Prince and Chris Tolbert easily won re-election.
But First Ward Council Member Dai Thao failed to reach the 50% threshold, meaning his race will be decided by second-choice votes.
For the only open seat, Nelsie Yang, a 24-year-old community organizer, was poised Tuesday night to become St. Paul’s youngest council member, and the first Hmong woman to serve on the City Council.
Yang led the other five candidates for the open Sixth Ward seat, though she did not reach the 50% threshold to win the race. Terri Thao, a former planning commissioner and nonprofit program director, held the second-place spot.
Yang was the first candidate to launch a campaign in the Sixth Ward on the city’s East Side, even before longtime Council Member Dan Bostrom announced his retirement in December.
“Even though I might be the youngest council member and the first Hmong woman council member here in Ward Six, I certainly know I won’t be the last,” Yang said in an interview Tuesday night.
All seven City Council seats were on the ranked-choice ballot, and every incumbent ran for re-election.
Election Day came at a fraught moment for St. Paul, as leaders reckon with an increasing number of shooting deaths and a divisive referendum on the city’s year-old organized trash collection system. Every incumbent faced at least one challenger.
In the Sixth Ward, Interim Council Member Kassim Busuri failed to keep his seat, which he decided to run for despite pledging not to during the application process for the interim position.
In the First Ward, Thao held a 10-point lead in first-place votes over challenger Anika Bowie. Also running were Liz De La Torre and Abu Nayeem.
The winner of that race may not be determined until later this week, when voters’ second-choice votes will be tallied.
Jalali Nelson, currently the youngest council member, won her first full term Tuesday after winning a special election for the Fourth Ward seat in August 2018. Also running for the seat were Tarrence Robertson-Bayless and Chris Holbrook.
In the Seventh Ward, Kartumu King, Mary Anne Quiroz and David Thom challenged first-term Council Member Prince.
Council members serve four-year terms. The current term runs through the end of 2019.