The rush was on at Northeast Middle School when polls opened at 7 a.m. Nov. 3. The line of voters snaked down two hallways and out into the parking lot. Sergeants-at-arms posted at the doors decided to track the length of time it took the voters to re-emerge: 25 minutes. By mid-morning, that time was cut in half.
While Minnesota set a new voter participation record, the results from the Northeaster’s coverage area, which leans heavily toward the DFL party, were not all that surprising.
Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were consistent winners over Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence. In Minneapolis Ward 1 Precinct 8 (Holland), Biden captured 89% of the vote, while Trump received just 8.5%. Votes were more nuanced, however, when voting precincts were studied on an individual basis. In Columbia Heights’ sixth precinct, for example, Trump received 30% of the vote and Biden only 67%.
Although Republican candidate Jason Lewis received higher vote percentages in the suburbs than he did in Minneapolis Wards 1 and 3, he was not able to unseat Sen. Tina Smith.
U.S. House of Representatives
Although Ilhan Omar was re-elected to represent House District 5, her major opponent, North Minneapolis businessman Lacy Johnson, definitely took some votes away from her. Johnson, who spent an enormous amount of money and campaigned on an “I’m not Omar” platform, did considerably better in the suburbs. Omar had her best showing in Minneapolis 1-7 (Mid-City Industrial), where she received nearly 75% of the vote; Johnson took almost 16% there. However, Johnson took a big slice out of the vote at St. Anthony Village City Hall, where he captured 40%. He consistently took 30% of the vote in Columbia Heights, Hilltop and St. Anthony.
Northeast native Kari Dziedzic handily defeated a challenge by Republican Mary Holmberg to retain her representation of Senate District 60. Mary Kunesh-Podein, who decided to seek a Senate seat after serving in the House, turned back a challenge by Lucia Marina Vogel.
Sydney Jordan, who was elected in January to fill the late Diane Loeffler’s seat in House 60A, easily defeated John Holmberg and kept her house seat in District 60A. Newcomer Sandra Feist moves into Mary Kunesh-Podein’s House seat for District 41A.
New Mayor, Council Member in Columbia Heights
Amáda Márquez Simula will take the reins of Columbia Heights city government in January. She beat City Council Member Nick Novitsky by just slightly more than 10 percentage points, gathering up 5,630 votes. Novitsky, who claimed 4,613 votes, will retain his seat on the council.
The council itself will see a new face in the new year, where votes for the four candidates were nearly equally divided. Kt Jacobs’ self-assigned homework – attending every council meeting for the past three years – paid off. She proved to be a tough campaigner, gathering up 27% of the vote. She’ll take a seat on the council. Incumbent Connie Buesgens retained her seat with 26% of the total. Andy Newton came in third with just over 24%. Newcomer Laura Dorle picked up 21%.
In the school board race, Mary Granlund received a consistent 35% of the vote in all precincts to take a seat on the board. Incumbents Lorien Mueller and Naty Severson were returned to office.
New mayor in Hilltop
Terry Wiggin ran unopposed in Hilltop and took 92% of the vote to become the city’s new mayor. Betty Risdahl and Casey Gunter were elected at-large members of the city council.
Minneapolis School Board
The at-large board seat was the only one Northeasters had a chance to vote on. Kim Ellison was re-elected as a Minneapolis Public School Board member-at-large with 61% of the citywide vote. Her opponent, Michael Dueñes, racked up a respectable 71,349 votes, but captured only 38%.
Voter fraud not likely
In all of the precincts visited by Northeaster reporters, election judges were vigilant in their work, noting reporters’ presence in their incident logs and making sure they didn’t focus their cameras on any one voter. Poll challengers from the Republican and Democratic parties were equally visible, watching as voters received their ballots and fed them into the vote tabulators. At the Landings of Silver Lake, where the Ramsey County residents of St. Anthony Village vote, judges said same-day registration was going smoothly.
COVID-19 prevention precautions were in effect at all polling places, with judges armed with sanitizers cleaning each voting booth as it was emptied. Voters who did not have a face mask were supplied them.
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Below: Due to the large numbers of absentee ballots to be counted, the presidential race outcome was not known until about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. At the Northeast Famer’s Market Winter Market, Sarah Davis, Forrest Fritz-Storhaug, Valerie Davis, Will Davis and Willa Davis cheered for president-elect Joe Biden’s win. At top of page, the sun sets on Friday, Nov. 6, the day before media outlets made the call that Biden won his home state of Pennsylvania and topped the needed 270 electoral votes. (Photos by Mike Madison)