Slate is set for general elections

;Minneapolis mayoral race will pit Rybak against McLaughlin
By Cati Vanden breul
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The Minneapolis city primaries are over and the results are in.

Mayor R.T. Rybak and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin received the most votes and will compete in November’s general election.

“Nine months ago, nobody would have thought we had a chance,” McLaughlin said.

With all precincts reporting, McLaughlin had just over 35 percent of the vote, and Rybak had just under 45 percent.

“I’m very pleased. Our goal was to keep the mayor under 50 percent, and it looks like he’ll be under 45 percent,” McLaughlin said.

He said he’ll campaign hard the next few months and talk to as many voters as he can.

“I got a new pair of shoes, and I’m gonna wear ’em up,” McLaughlin said.

Safe streets, excellent schools and strong neighborhoods will remain his top priorities.

Mark Koscielski, a candidate who won’t make it to the general election, said Minneapolis can look forward to hard taxes, hard crime and a smaller police force now that Rybak and McLaughlin are the final two candidates.

Koscielski said he’ll continue to run for mayor every four years “as long as I’m breathing.”

“Each time I learn that there are a lot more folks out there that are discontented with our city fathers and eventually it’s gonna catch up to them,” Koscielski said.

Tim Nolan, who also didn’t receive enough votes to advance, said he will continue to fight for his concerns and was happy to see Farheen Hakeem, the Green Party candidate, do so well in the primary.

Hakeem had 4,596 votes to Rybak’s 14,766 and McLaughlin’s 11,734.

Neither Hakeem nor Rybak could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Ward 2 city council race to feature DFL and Green Party
By Devon Sykes and Nina Petersen-Perlman
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Community residents narrowed their choices for Minneapolis City Council in the 2nd and 3rd wards Tuesday.

The top two from each ward will advance to the general election in November.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Cara J. Letofsky and Green Party candidate Cam Gordon were the front-runners in the 2nd Ward.

Letofsky, who received the biggest share of the votes, said she won because she “ran a good, strong campaign.”

“I come to the race knowing a lot about what the job is and knowing people who care about the city,” Letofsky said. “I did the work I needed to do.”

Letofsky said she still has a lot of work to do to succeed in the general election, such as going door to door and getting to know the 2nd Ward voters.

Letofsky plans to focus on the University.

“Now that students are back on campus I’m excited to start going door to door in the dorms,” she said.

Second-place Gordon said he did better than he expected to, and attributes his success in the polls to hard work and a “great campaign team.”

Gordon said he thought people believed in his goal of making Minneapolis a “safe, walkable community.”

“People want a government that will work for them,” he said.

Gordon said he plans to pursue a win in the general election by “talking about issues, letting people know what ideas I have about making this a better city.”

“We won’t have the most money, and we won’t be able to do the most mailings,” Gordon said, “but I think we’ll have the most volunteers.”

Ron Lischeid, an ndependent candidate, didn’t make the top two.

He said he knew that the Green and DFL candidates would already have support in the community, so he’d have to bring in new voters to win.

Lischeid said that even though this was his ninth attempt at public office, he plans to continue running.

“Just because I’m in the sand trap doesn’t mean I’m not shooting for a hole in one,” he said.

DFL candidate Diane Hofstede and Green Party candidate Aaron Neumann from the 3rd Ward will move on to the general election.

Hofstede garnered almost two-thirds of the votes for the 3rd Ward while Neumann won a fifth of the total votes.

Hofstede said her major platforms were livability issues like crime and public safety.

Hofstede said she was qualified for the position because she has a 30-year track record of civil accomplishments. She has been on the Minneapolis Library Board since 1984 and has been a member and chair on the Neighborhood Revitalization Program Policy Board since it began.

She said she was excited to start working more with people in the 3rd Ward.

“The 3rd Ward is brimming full of talent from end to end,” she said. “It’s a synergistic, dynamic community.”

Neumann said his campaign was successful because he ran a “positive, principled campaign.”

“We had a human face and perspective on the issues the north side faces,” he said. “Connecting with people and mobilizing was key.”

Neumann said that if elected in the general election, he first wants to end predatory lending practices.

“These large financial institutions prey on low-income and minority communities by providing them with high-risk loans,” he said.

Neumann also said he wanted to implement a sensible drug policy that would make marijuana possession a lower police priority and instead focus on treatment.

Larry Leininger, from the White Working Man’s Party, said he was pleased with the number of votes he received, although it appeared he won’t advance to the general election.

Leininger ran on a platform of discouraging nonwhites from immigrating to the United States and promoting policy to help white people.

He said he will run again and continue promoting his ideals.

Incumbent gets second in St. Paul mayoral primary
By Than Tibbetts
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In St. Paul, Chris Coleman tallied more than half of the city’s votes to set up a general election showdown with fellow Democrat and incumbent Mayor Randy Kelly.

Coleman easily outpaced Kelly and nearly doubled the incumbent’s vote total, 13,041 to 6,740.

Green Party candidate Elizabeth Dickinson tallied a strong third place with 4,905 votes.

The other five candidates – Bill Dahn, Glen Mansfield, Sharon Anderson, Nick Tschida and Jacob Perasso – all tallied fewer than 220 votes.

Those in Coleman’s camp were “really happy” with the primary results.

“We don’t rest. This is still a very hard race against a well-funded incumbent,” Coleman said. “We know our work is still cut out for us.”

He said that even though the primary election sets up a contest between two Democrats in name, the distinction is really between a Democrat and a Republican.

“Randy calls himself a Democrat but he’s clearly aligned himself with very conservative Republicans,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Kelly campaign downplayed party lines and Coleman’s margin of victory.

“There’s nothing surprising here,” said Vince Muzik, the Kelly campaign communications director. “We predicted we would come in second.”

The Kelly campaign will stick to its game plan and stay on the mayor’s message of nonpartisanship, working together and getting things done, Muzik said.

“The general election, that’s our game. That’s where people who really know what happened in St. Paul go out and vote,” he said.

Mary Petrie, Dickinson’s campaign manager, said St. Paul is a progressive town, and that it showed in the results. She said the mood at the Dickinson camp was buoyant.

“The Green Party feels that this is a strong victory for them,” she said.

As for tomorrow, Petrie said, Dickinson is planning to weed her garden, take a deep breath and decide what’s next.

“We’ll see more of her,” she said.

Near the St. Paul campus, in the 4th Ward, 1st Precinct, of St. Paul, a slow but steady trickle of people came to vote at Langford Park.

Flo McNerney, a teacher at Century College, said the low level of interest in the primary is “ghastly,” though she admitted she was not prepared to vote for the school board. She was more prepared for the mayoral election.

“I think we could do better,” she said of the mayor’s office.

Bjorn Monson, a self-described “inactive” University clinical professor of surgery, also said he thought interest in the elections was less than it should be.

He added that he was voting because he was interested in seeing a different mayor.

Fourth Ward resident Ellen Longfellow sported her red “I Voted” sticker as she walked through Langford Park with her husband and dog in the evening. Her ballot had been sealed at 7:30 a.m.

She said she was active in this year’s race and had attended the endorsing conventions.

“People don’t take the primaries seriously,” she said. “And then they complain at the general elections!”