Brian Bakst, Associated Press, Published November 06 2013
Hodges leads as Minneapolis mayoral count goes onMINNEAPOLIS — Even with Democratic City Council member Betsy Hodges far out front, the Minneapolis mayoral race remained undeclared Wednesday as election officials undertook a painstaking review of ballots and reallocation of votes under the city's ranked-choice system.
Hodges held a wide lead in the 35-candidate field, but was still short of the threshold needed to win. The city allows voters to designate second and third choices, and ballots are reassigned as candidates are deemed out of contention.
Based on the number of total votes, the winner must secure 39,708 votes — or above 50 percent of the total votes cast in the race.
After the early rounds, Hodges was more than 10,000 votes shy of the 39,708 votes needed to pass the 50 percent threshold and win outright.
Hodges, 44, has been an ally of three-term Mayor R.T. Rybak, who didn't seek re-election and declined to endorse any of the candidates. She had the backing of the Service Employees International Union and the pro-abortion rights EMILY's List, which helped her turn out votes in a race that saw plenty of debates but relatively little broadcast advertising.
Hodges' closest rival in the vote count was former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew. He conceded to Hodges in a Facebook message to his followers Wednesday night, saying he had called Hodges to congratulate her.
"We ran an incredible campaign but in the end, we just couldn't shake her," Andrew wrote in the message. "Betsy was tenacious, determined and she peaked at the right time. These assets will serve her well as she transitions into her new role as leader of our City."
After hours of tabulation, only five registered candidates had been dropped.
"They don't want to make a mistake in the mayor's race and they'll proceed with caution," Minneapolis City Clerk Casey Carl said of vote tabulators. He told reporters, "You all want fast results. I want accurate results."
Rybak's staff has begun transition meetings to ease the handover to the new mayor in January.
This is the second mayoral race in which Minneapolis has used ranked-choice voting, but a bigger test of the system than Rybak's walkover win in 2009.
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