Updated: 11/06/2013 12:22 PM
Created: 11/05/2013 9:15 PM KSTP.com
By: Scott Theisen
Minneapolis City Council member Betsy Hodges has a commanding lead to be the city's next mayor, and may be confirmed after election officials go through ballots again Wednesday.
Hodges took 36 percent of first-choice votes Tuesday in the city's ranked-choice system. Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner, was around 25 percent but appeared to concede he can't make up the ground.
Both were among several Democrats hoping to succeed R.T. Rybak, who didn't seek a third term.
Rybak's decision, along with the city's paltry $20 filing fee, led to a massive ballot of 35 candidates, many of them gadflies. Voters were confounded further by the first real test of ranked-choice voting, which eliminated the traditional primary that would have thinned the field.
Minneapolis residents approved ranked-choice voting in a 2006 referendum. It was sold as a progressive reform that eliminates the cost and burden of primary elections, and theoretically gives voters more say through the ranking system.
Under ranked choice, if no candidate exceeds 50 percent of first-choice votes, that triggers a series of automatic runoffs in which lower-ranked candidates are eliminated and second and third choices are redistributed to remaining candidates' totals.
City election officials said the high number of candidates made it unlikely they would announce a winner until Wednesday at the earliest.
The low filing fee gave a host of oddball candidates a spot on the lengthy ballot: from an Occupy Wall Street activist named Captain Jack Sparrow, to frequent candidates Bob Carney and Ole Savior, to representatives of such unique political parties as Legacy-Next Generation, Local Energy/Food, and Pirate Party (oddly enough, not Captain Jack Sparrow).
Eight of the 35 candidates ran more traditional and well-funded campaigns. But Democratic activists left the race without a clear front-runner when they deadlocked last summer over whether to endorse Hodges or Andrew.
Besides Hodges and Andrew, other leading candidates were Don Samuels, a city councilman; Jackie Cherryhomes and Dan Cohen, both past council presidents; Bob Fine, a member of the local park board; Stephanie Woodruff, a businesswoman; and Cam Winton, an attorney and moderate Republican.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Samuels had about 11 percent of the vote and Winton had about 10 percent.
Minneapolis City Council
Votes were also cast for seats in Wards 1 through 13, along with seats for the Board of Estimate and Taxation and the Park and Recreation Board. Results for those races.
Outside of Minneapolis
In this off-year election, residents in several Minnesota cities were choosing mayors and council members. In St. Paul, incumbent Chris Coleman rolled to a third term in unofficial results.
In addition, 76 school districts were asking for some kind of financial help from voters through either operating, building or capital project levies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.