Voters turn out for hot, early primary

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August 2, 2010 // UPDATED 5:16 pm - August 11, 2010
By: Jake Weyer, Dylan Thomas and Brent Renneke
Jake Weyer, Dylan Thomas and Brent Renneke

Primary participation highest since 2000

With a DFL gubernatorial race as hot as the weather on the line, voters surpassed primary predictions Aug. 10, migrating not to their cabins, but to the polls in numbers not seen in a decade.

“The gubernatorial race is what brought me here today,” said Downtown resident Raul Soto, who voted for DFL candidate and eventual winner Mark Dayton at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave.  

The unofficial tally from the Secretary of State indicated that out of 3,806,763 eligible voters, 589,814 (15.5 percent) showed up at the polls statewide. The last time a primary drew such a crowd was in 2000, when 602,690 voters (17.19 percent) cast a ballot.

Still, several Downtown precincts reported slow days.

“The pace has been slower than general, partly due to the college students that aren’t back in session yet,” said Karen Koons, and election judge at the Elliot Park building, 1000 E. 14th Street. “Normally we do not get a lot in primaries, but we still get some.”

Here’s a look at how Downtown voters (Ward 7 and precincts 2 and 3 in Ward 3) voted in the gubernatorial and school board races, which were the most contested:


DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton narrowly beat endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher to advance to the general election, but Downtown voters supported Kelliher overwhelmingly, with 3,765 (64 percent) casting their ballot for the House Speaker. Dayton garnered 1,474 votes (25 percent) and Matt Entenza was a distant third with 589 votes (10 percent).

Few Downtown residents voted within the Republican Party, but those who did voted heavily in favor of endorsed candidate Tom Emmer. He collected 226 votes (80 percent). His closest competitor was Bob Carney Jr. with 26 votes (.09 percent).

Tom Horner, the endorsed candidate for the Independence Party, overwhelmingly won his race with 138 votes (83 percent). Rob Hahn was a distant second with 13 votes (.08 percent).

School Board

DFL-endorsed candidate Richard Mammen beat all others by a wide margin in the at-large School Board race, advancing to the general election with Rebecca Gagnon, Chanda Smith Baker and incumbent T. Williams.

The four top vote-getters emerged from a field of 10 candidates and will compete for two open at-large School Board seats in November. The eastern half of the city also will elect district representatives to the School Board in November, although none of those races required a primary.

Mammen, a youth worker, received 12,699 votes (21.69 percent). Gagnon, a district parent and volunteer who lives in Southwest, received 8,449 votes [14.43 percent], placing just ahead of Smith Baker, director of strategic partners for non-profit Pillsbury United Communities, who received 8,269 votes (14.17 percent).

Williams, a retired senior researcher for a Minneapolis nonprofit now finishing his first term on the board, received 7,313 votes (12.49 percent).
Vote totals from precincts in the Downtown Journal coverage area — which includes portions of wards 3 and 7 — reflected citywide results, with the same four candidates finishing on top in the same order.

There were 3,679 votes cast for at-large School Board candidates in those precincts, and Mammen received 645 (17.53 percent).
Gagnon received 541 votes (14.71 percent) and Smith Baker received 515 votes (14.00 percent). Williams was close behind with 500 votes (13.59 percent).