St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter easily won re-election on a night that city voters also passed one of the country's strictest rent control policies.
Unlike across the river where incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey has to wait till Wednesday to find out if he's been re-elected, Carter won on Tuesday after gaining more than 61% of first-choice ballots.
His closest challenger was Dino Guerin, who gained 12.6% of the vote.
With Carter expected to canter to victory, more intriguing on the night was how St. Paul would vote for its rent control measure that would cap residential rents at no more than 3% a year, with no exceptions for new housing and smaller landlords.
St. Paul voted in favor of the measure by a margin of 53% to 47%.
Carter himself said that while he approves of the introduction of rent control, he believes that the measure placed on the ballot needs improving urgently.
However, the City Attorney has noted that substantive changes or a repeal of the policy could not be made for at least a year without opening the city up to lawsuits, so any changes are likely to be minor.
While the measure limits the amount landlords can raise rent to 3% a year regardless of whether a tenant moves out and a new one moves in, it also directs the city to enact a process for landlords to file for an exception to the limit if necessary for a reasonable return on investment.
Minnesota law requires city-wide rent control policies to be passed through a referendum, which is why voters in both St. Paul and Minneapolis had rent control on the ballot this year. (Minneapolis passed its measure too, but it doesn't establish any policies, it only gives the City Council the ability to enact rent control.)
This comes as people in the Twin Cities struggle to find affordable housing and some are getting priced out of their rental units. The Twin Cities boasts one of the worst vacancy rates in the nation. Homes, including rental units, are at a premium, and property owners face few restrictions when it comes to upping rent.
Those who support the ballot measure in St. Paul have said it will protect renters from huge rent increases that end up displacing people from their homes. While opponents say it is among the strictest in the United States and offers few exemptions even if inflation remains high. They also say the ordinance would hurt new apartment developments because it doesn't exempt new construction.