Politics

Councilwoman Hodges elected mayor of Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Betsy Hodges, a Democratic member of the Minneapolis City Council, emerged as the winner of the race for mayor of Minnesota's largest city Thursday night.

Hodges received the most votes of the 35 candidates but fell shy of an outright majority. Minneapolis uses a ranked-choice system, which allowed voters on Tuesday to make up to three choices of candidates on their ballots. Ballots were reassigned as candidates were deemed out of contention.

"I look forward to working together to build a city by everybody, for everybody, and with everybody," Hodges said in a statement released after the official announcement that she was voted the next Minneapolis mayor. "When we do that, we become a city that is greater than the sum of its parts. Together we have a future that is far, far better than what we could do separated."

Hodges' victory came after election officials undertook a painstaking review of ballots and reallocation of votes under the ranked-choice system. City officials said Thursday night that Hodges was declared the unofficial winner after 33 rounds of counting ballots.

Hodges finished with just shy of 49 percent of the vote. That was far ahead of second-place finisher Mark Andrew, who had 31 percent. The rest of the ballots went to neither competitor. Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner, conceded to Hodges in a Facebook message to his followers Wednesday night, saying he had called Hodges to congratulate her.

Hodges, 44, has served on the City Council since 2006. She has chaired the council's influential budget committee since 2010, where she has been an ally of Mayor R.T. Rybak. She did split from Rybak by voting against city funding for the Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Rybak decided against seeking a fourth term. While he praised Hodges and several other candidates, Rybak stayed neutral. This is the second mayoral race in which Minneapolis has used ranked-choice voting, but a bigger test of the system than Rybak's walkover win in 2009.

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