Voters are going to the polls Tuesday to narrow down the candidates in November’s mayoral race in St. Paul.
There are currently four candidates seeking the position, including incumbent DFL Mayor Chris Coleman. The top two vote getters in Tuesday will earn a spot on the ballot Nov. 3.
Coleman has already been endorsed by the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation.
During his three-year tenure as mayor, some of Coleman’s main priorities included education, sustainability and the Central Corridor light-rail transit project.
One of Coleman’s opponents, Eva Ng, has experience in consulting with businesses and in campaign finance, which could be advantageous in balancing and structuring the city’s budget.
Ng was born in Hong Kong, and immigrated with her family to the United States at a young age.
Ng’s campaign spokesperson Jan Schneider said Ng was disappointed that Coleman didn’t attend a public forum in St. Paul for endorsed mayoral candidates on Sept. 10. She said that if elected, Ng would be committed to serving her full term as mayor, because the people of St. Paul “deserve better.”
Coleman campaign manager John Stiles said they have been knocking on thousands of doors, sending mail to voters, making phone calls and distributing lawn signs to increase voter turnout.
Stiles did say Coleman could seek a higher office while serving as mayor.
“He is strongly considering running for governor in 2010, but he hasn’t made a final decision and probably won’t until after this election,” he said.
Bill Dahn is running as an independent, and has run for mayor of St. Paul, governor, state representative and for U.S. Senate. He dedicates a lot of time volunteering and providing meals to homeless people, he said.
Sharon Anderson is running as an independent Republican, and is also running for State Attorney General .
Anderson said she is pessimistic about how the primary will go.
“I believe it will be the poorest turnout in history,” she said. “It should actually go right through to the general with an [instant-runoff voting system]. It’s too costly to have a primary.”
Unlike its sister city, Minneapolis did not join in holding a primary.
Instead, the City of Minneapolis will collaborate with FairVote Minnesota in Minneapolis’s first ever ranked choice voting election, also known as instant runoff voting, on Nov. 3. Voters will rank their first, second and third preferred candidates, with voter’s second and third place votes counting should their top choices not receive a majority of the vote.
Despite her run at the position, Anderson said she does think the race will be between Coleman and Ng.
Citizens will also vote at the primary to narrow down candidates to fill four school board member seats .
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For a list of the closest polling locations, what is required to vote or for a full list of the municipal and school board candidates, visit www.co.ramsey.mn.us.
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