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St. Paul elects first African American mayor

Melvin Carter III, left, and Pat Harris
ST. PAUL --- Former St. Paul City Council Member Melvin Carter III won the city’s race for mayor Tuesday night, gaining more than 50 percent of the vote, overtaking his nearest rival Pat Harris by a wide margin.

With all 96 precincts reporting after 10 p.m., the two former council members were the front-runners, with Carter at 51 percent of the vote with 31,494 votes and Harris at 25 percent with 15,356 votes. City Council Member Dai Thao was a distant third at 12 percent.

They were followed by Green Party candidate Elizabeth Dickinson at 5 percent and former school board member Tom Goldstein at 4 percent.

Carter is the first African American to be elected mayor in St. Paul.

“(Melvin Carter) lives, breathes and bleeds the city of St. Paul. Our families will be celebrating all year,” said Nneka Constantino, a board member with the St. Paul Port Authority. Constantino was among Carter supporters gathered at the Union Depot Tuesday night.

Harris, at a gathering of supporters at Mancini’s Tuesday night, said it was “pretty clear” that due to the election results new leadership for St. Paul “won’t be me.”

In remarks to supporters he called for unity in St. Paul.

“I’m never going to stop making a difference in this community,” Harris said. “I’m going to embrace new leadership … We don’t know what the final count is going to be but we got pretty good indication.”

Carter had the backing of Gov. Mark Dayton.

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