Another St. Paul City Council race called
Three days after Election Day, another St. Paul City Council race has been decided.
Ramsey County election judges reallocated ranked-choice ballots for Wards 1 and 7 on Friday since none of the candidates in either race received at least 50% of the first-choice votes.
With the fifth round of allocations in, Anika Bowie won the Ward 1 seat.
While the vote totals are still unofficial, the final tabulations handed Cheniqua Johnson the Ward 7 seat.
Johnson, a program officer for a nonprofit, came out on top of social work professor Pa Der Vang.
“You go through a flood of emotions, you reflect on a lot of your work,” Johnson said.
She hoped to hold her slim lead as the second round of voting began and said she wants to address public safety during her time on the council while bringing a voice that hasn’t been heard before.
“Hearing a gunshot, genuinely feeling unsafe at some point, I think that’s been a huge talked about issue amongst us community members but not at government level yet,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Anika Bowie, a community organizer and candidate for Ward 1, said her campaign wanted to get more people involved in the process.
“We’re going to have a lot to learn. We’re also going to have a fresh perspective of what we could do and what’s possible,” Bowie said.
The council is expected to be made up entirely of women in the new term, although Ward 3’s tally still needs to be finalized on Monday since Saura Jost fell 2% short of the necessary total on first-choice votes. The campaign of Jost’s leading opponent, Isaac Russell, already conceded but still wants the votes counted for transparency purposes.
“A huge amount of work ahead of us. Incredibly important and exciting,” Mitra Jalali, Ward 4’s representative, who was easily reelected Tuesday, said.
“I feel hopeful for the issues we campaigned on; that’s climate action and modernizing our public infrastructure,” Jalali said.
She also sees the four new faces that will come to the seven-member council as a key step for the city.
“We’re going to welcome a new council. It’s increasingly looking more and more diverse, younger council, to the left of their predecessors,” Jalali said. “Big changes for our city.”
Jalali is also considering a run for council president.