Barely two hours after polls closed Tuesday night, Betsy Hodges emerged as the front-runner in the race to become the next mayor of Minneapolis, with 36 percent of the first-choice ballots – a commanding 12-point lead.
It was a surprising development that a front-runner would emerge so clearly and early in the crowded 35-candidate race.
According to the Star Tribune, Mark Andrew, the closest candidate to Hodges, informally conceded.
In the city's first big test of a ranked-choice voting system in which voters choose three top candidates in order of preference, Andrew received about 24 percent of first-choice votes. Don Samuels finished a distant third at 11 percent, and Cam Winton was fourth with 10 percent. See results.
Part of what gave City Council Member Hodges a clear edge was that she also received the most second-choice votes, according to the Star Tribune.
The official results of the election are not expected until Wednesday after second- and third-choice votes have been counted, and Andrew said he would formally concede then. (With ranked-choice voting, election officials eliminate candidates with the fewest supporters, redistributing eliminated candidates' second- and third- choice votes until one candidate passes a 50 percent threshold.)
“Here’s to today! And I look forward to seeing you tomorrow,” Hodges told about 150 supporters late Tuesday night.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that voter turnout in Minneapolis was less than 40 percent.