Incumbents dominate Park Board elections

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November 6, 2013
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Incumbents dominated the 2013 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board election.

In districts 1-6, every commissioner that decided to run for re-election won. John Erwin and Annie Young, the two at-large incumbents running, were the top vote-getters out of all at-large candidates and are likely to be re-elected.  Bob Fine, the third incumbent at-large Park Board commissioner, decided to run for mayor instead of going for another term on the Park Board. Fine ended up being a non-factor in the mayoral race, placing seventh in first-place votes.

Carol Kummer (District 5) was the only other commissioner that chose not to run for re-election. She will be replaced by Steffanie Musich, who ran unopposed.

A candidate has to attain one vote more than 25 percent of the total vote to win an at-large seat under ranked-choice voting. During the first round of tabulations Erwin came just short of doing that, garnering 24.74 percent of all first-choice votes. Young placed second with 15.66 percent of first-choice votes, and led all at-large candidates in both second and third-choice votes. The third at-large seat will be hotly contested between Tom Nordyke, Meg Forney and Jason Stone.

Forney was third in first-place votes, garnering 13.23 percent. She narrowly lost in the last two Park Board elections, losing an at-large Park Board bid in 2005 by 1,502 votes and a 6th District bid in 2009 by 794 votes. Forney has 12.2 percent of second place votes and 13.53 percent of third-place votes.

Nordyke was fourth in first-place votes with 10.97 percent. He has more second-choice votes than Forney at 14.82 percent, but less third-choice votes at 9.7 percent. Nordyke was endorsed by the DFL along with Erwin and previously served on the Park Board from 2005-2009 before losing a re-election bid.

Jason Stone was fifth in first-place votes with 9.02 percent, but has 11.09 percent of the second-choice votes and 15.93 percent of the third-choice votes. Like Forney, he narrowly lost previous Park Board bids. Running in District 5 against Kummer he lost by 300 and 349 votes in 2005 and 2009, respectively.

Liz Wielinski ran unopposed to earn her second term representing District 1 (Northeast). Jon Olson easily defeated challenger David Luce in District 2 (north Minneapolis), as did Scott Vreeland in District 3 (Phillips/Powderhorn/Longfellow) over Said Maye, Anita Tabb in District 4 (Calhoun-Isles) over Bobby Davis, and Brad Bourn in District 6 (southwest Minneapolis) over Josh Neiman.

Ranked-choice voting with multiple winners is quite complicated. Here is a video by MPR explaining how it works: