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Coleman easily re-elected as St. Paul mayor, stresses education

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St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman easily won re-election to his third term Tuesday.

Coleman, 51, is "poised to join a select fraternity of St. Paul's longest-serving mayors," the Pioneer Press noted, after cruising to a win with 78 percent of the vote in a race that was never in question.

His closest rival was real estate agent Tim Holden, who had 16 percent of the vote after hammering Coleman's leadership and criticizing the publicly-subsidized Lowertown minor league ballpark project and the development of the new $957 million Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line.

MPR News reported that among Coleman's comments Tuesday night was, “We’ve been beaten down by seven years of a really tough economy. We had a mortgage foreclosure crisis that didn’t allow us to do some of the things we wanted to do in our neighborhoods to make sure that our neighborhoods were strong. We got obviously a lot families in crisis that we’re going to continue to work with particularly around education issues. We got a Ford site, 130 acres of development opportunity. So there’s definitely a full plate for the next four years.”

Coleman, long focused on economic growth in the city and downtown development, in a press release said his top priorities in a third term would be "closing the achievement gap, neighborhood success and economic prosperity."

He also said he would put a special emphasis on education, the Pioneer Press reported. Coleman said the nation's urban mayors should play a higher-profile role in school issues.

Coleman is expected to be appointed president of the National League of Cities this month and he has already put together a team of mayors to lobby federal leaders on school reform, specifically on early learning and college readiness programs, the Pioneer Press notes. Coleman and the task force met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in July.

Overshadowed by a more widely watched Minneapolis mayoral race, St. Paul's race mostly received little media coverage, although a candidate debate punctuated by a number of odd moments garnered national attention. The debate included two other candidates who did not wage active campaigns, perennial candidate Sharon Anderson and street maintenance worker Kurt Dornfeld.

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