Voters in Duluth narrowed down the pool of candidates vying to be the next mayor, with two contenders coming out victorious in the primary election Tuesday.
Of the eight candidates on the ballot, City Council President Emily Larson and Chuck Horton – a former boxing coach and promoter who recently went to school for chemical dependency counseling – came out on top.
Larson secured 67.32 percent of the vote, while Horton trailed with 18.57 percent, according to the Duluth City Clerk's Office.
Aaron Brown calls Horton "more conservative" than the DFL-endorsed Larson.
Both candidates were satisfied with Tuesday's results.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard and really focusing on direct voter contact through door-knocking and making phone calls. We have been very consistent in our efforts and very strategic. And I’m really pleased because this shows our strategy has been very effective,” Larson told the Duluth News Tribune.
Horton was also pleased, especially since Larson's campaign has outspent his, Northland's NewsCenter says.
"We are just a grassroots campaign, my opponent has a paid staff. They spent $44,000 to advance to the primaries so that's a very expensive vote that they just purchased," Horton told the news station.
He told the Duluth News Tribune that he likes his odds going up against Larson in the general election, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, the city clerk's office notes.
Few ballots were cast
Voter turnout was low for Duluth's primary – 8,404 ballots were cast Tuesday, the city clerk's office notes, compared to more than 32,000 in last fall's general election, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
That's typical for municipal elections – especially in the primaries – compared to congressional or presidential elections the newspaper notes.
But low voter turnout is one reason the Star Tribune's editorial board and other organizations are urging cities like Duluth to do away with primaries for municipal elections and adopt a method called ranked-choice voting – voters would rank candidates in order of preference during a general election.
This is something both Minneapolis and St. Paul have switched to, and voters in Duluth will get to decide in November's general election whether they want to revamp their election process and adopt a ranked-choice voting system for municipal elections, FOX 21 reported.
Supporters also say ranked-choice voting also saves the taxpayers money by eliminating a primary, while opponents believe the method can be confusing and doesn't guarantee the candidate with the majority will win the election, Northland's NewsCenter reported.