St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano has won a second four-year term while newcomer Nadia Mohamed won a St. Louis Park City Council seat previously held by Thom Miller, who did not run for re-election.
Larry Kraft unseated incumbent Steve Hallfin in a three-way race for another at-large council seat that also included Deb Brinkman, a longtime leader of the St. Louis Park League of Women Voters.
In the mayoral race, Spano received 5,442 first-place votes compared to 1,082 first-place votes for challenger Yvette Baudelaire and 17 first-place write-in votes, according to unofficial results from the Minnesota Secretary of State's office. With Spano picking up more than 83% of the first-place vote totals, he was declared the winner. After officials tally up first-place votes, ranked-choice vote rules state that a candidate is the winner if the candidate receives 50% plus one vote of the total cast.
Similarly, Mohamed was declared the winner of the at-large B council seat since unofficial results indicate she received more than 63% of the total first-place votes in the race. She received 4,002 first-place votes compared to 2,296 first-place votes for candidate Joseph Israel and 22 first-place write-in votes.
Lower-ranked votes were used to determine the winner of the at-large A seat. According to unofficial results, candidate Larry Kraft received 2,752 first-place votes, or nearly 44% of the total. Candidate Deb Brinkman received about 32% of the total with 2,006 first-place votes. Hallfin received 1,507 votes, or 24% of the total. There were 15 first-choice write-in ballots.
Because no one received the threshold of 50% of the votes plus one in the first round, the city had to turn to additional rounds of tabulation.
As a result of the first round of voting tabulation, elections officials determined, "Larry Kraft received the most votes (2752), but did not have more than the threshold (3151) to be declared the winner. Overvotes, undervotes, and undeclared write-ins (UWI) will be eliminated in the next round of counting. The next highest choices on those ballots will be added to the totals of the remaining candidates."
Although voters could write in names in city races, St. Louis Park's ranked-choice voting rules state that write-in votes will not be considered unless a write-in candidate had filed a written request with the city’s chief election official at least a week before the election. All write-in ballots for St. Louis Park city races were listed as votes for "undeclared" write-in candidates.
As a result of redistributing lower-ranked choices for first-place choices that were eliminated, elections staff said of the second round's results, "Larry Kraft received the most votes (2761), but did not have more than the threshold (3151) to be declared the winner. Steve Hallfin will be eliminated in the next round of counting. The next highest choices on those ballots will be added to the totals of the remaining candidates."
As a result of redistributing lower-ranked choices for voters who listed Hallfin as their first choice, elections staff said regarding the third round, "Larry Kraft received the most votes (3226), which was more than the threshold. Larry Kraft is declared the winner in this race."
Elections staff previously had reported that Kraft did not meet the threshold but would be declared the winner because he had the most votes of the two remaining candidates in the third round. However, the city had mistakenly based the figure for the threshold on the total number of ballots cast citywide rather than the total number of votes for the at-large A council race itself. The above quotes reflect the results based on the corrected threshold figure.
In contrast to the 3,226 votes counted for Kraft after the third round, Brinkman's total came in at 2,483 votes. There were 591 votes that were considered "exhausted" after the third round because they did not list either of the two remaining candidates. The city had previously reported a larger number of exhausted ballots, but that also had been based on the total number of ballots citywide rather than cast in the at-large A race.
The results of the municipal races are listed here: https://www.stlouispark.org/government/elections/election-results