Ranked-choice voting decides control of Minneapolis

The winners of all 13 city council seats have been decided, with majority control appearing to favor the far-left candidates.

Incumbents on the city council have prevailed in all 11 contests.

Two seats were open, with incumbents choosing not to run for reelection in Wards 7 and 12. The socialist-backed candidate in Ward 12, Aurin Chowdhury, won election in the first round, with 54 percent of the vote.

In the open Ward 7 race, the top two vote-getters–Katie Cashman and Scott Graham–were tied at 48 percent, after the first round, separated by a mere 59 votes.

The race was decided by Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) after tabulating the preferences of the 290 voters backing third-place finisher, Ken Foxworth, who ran as a Democrat, as did Cashman and Graham. Cashman, tipped as the further-left candidate, ended up winning.

Another race that went to the RCV tally involved Ward 6. The incumbent, Jamal Osman, led after the first round with 45 percent of the vote. He prevailed when the alternate choices of voters backing the third- and fourth-place finishers were considered. After all the counting, Osman still did not reach a majority.

Although Osman received well under half of the votes cast, the remainder were almost evenly split between the 2nd- and 3rd-place candidates. The Star Tribune-backed Kayseh Magan finished in 2nd place. The autobiographer Tiger Worku finished in third.

In Ward 8, socialist-backed challenger Soren Stevenson led incumbent member Andrea Jenkins by 106 votes after the first round of counting. Jenkins is currently serving as council president.

The Ward 8 race was decided by the alternate choices of voters backing the third- and fourth-place finishers. Voters backing the also-rans favored the incumbent Jenkins, who won by a margin of 38 votes. This race was the only contest where the 2nd-place finisher after round one ultimately prevailed.

The details of the Ward 8 count can be found here (scroll down to see a colorful graph). After Round 1, the fourth-place candidate, Bob Sullentrop, was eliminated. Voters backing this endorsed Republican candidate backed the incumbent Jenkins over the socialist Stevenson by a margin of 150 to 75 votes.

Likewise, the third-place candidate, DFLer Terry White, was also eliminated. White’s voters favored Jenkins over Stevenson 251 to 182. Thus, voters backing the Republican delivered a slightly larger margin of 2nd-place votes to the incumbent.

The 144 net votes gained by Jenkins in round 2 enabled the incumbent to turn around the 106 vote first-round deficit into a 38-vote victory (pending any recount).

So it would appear that the machinations of Ranked-Choice voting, along with the socialist’s failure to attract more Republican votes, cost Stevenson a seat on the Minneapolis city council.

By my count, the far-left controls 7 seats (a majority) with the more “pragmatic” left controlling five. Neither faction appears to claim victorious incumbent Jamal Osman (Ward 6). Winners are shown with a green checkmark,

The socialists failed to oust the incumbent Jenkins, but prevailed in the open seat for Ward 12 with Chowdhury. Control of the city council will be decided, issue-by-issue, with the votes of Ward 6’s Osman and the newcomer to Ward 7, Cashman.

Turnout varied widely by ward, as shown below,

You would expect the low turnout in Ward 2, where only one candidate appeared on the ballot. But other wards with contested races saw turnout 2x to 3x the turnout of less competitive wards.

Two notes from races decided in the first round of counting.

Robin Wonsley, the socialist incumbent running unopposed in Ward 2, received only 68 percent of the vote, with nearly one-third of the electorate (32 percent) opting for a write-in candidate.

Jeremiah Ellison, son of the state Attorney General and Ward 5 incumbent, won in the first round with only 53 percent of the vote. Ellison received the fewest votes of any winner in a contested race.

Developing…