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West St. Paul candidate for mayor Jeramie Torkelson has dropped out. The city was heading for a four-way primary on August 11, but Torkelson has suspended his campaign.
Torkelson released this statement:
On the day I filed my last-minute affidavit of candidacy for mayor, it was still uncontested. Later that afternoon, I learned two other candidates filed. In the time that has passed since filing, I’ve thought, researched, and spoken with my wife Polly, and campaign manager Casey, about next steps, and ultimately I have decided to suspend my campaign for West St. Paul mayor.
I’m reminded of a quote from Marian Wright Edelman, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” I think electing a black woman as West St. Paul mayor would be a wonderful thing. While I’ve never met or had a conversation with Kimetha Johnson, I am interested to learn more about her plans for West St. Paul and what she has to say. She seems extremely qualified and I have read about her vision for the city and I am looking forward to hearing more as she campaigns.Jeramie Torkelson
However, Torkelson’s name will remain on the ballot since the deadline to withdraw was June 4 and absentee voting starts next week on Friday, June 26.
The three remaining candidates are incumbent Mayor Dave Napier, Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson, and Jonathan Diamond. With only 57 days until the August 11 primary, campaigning is just beginning.
Johnson—the first black candidate to run for any municipal office in West St. Paul—is hitting the ground running. She’s already launched her website and Facebook page, and on Sunday held a socially distanced meet and greet in Marthaler Park. Johnson also joins a group of black women inspired to run for office by the murder of George Floyd. Johnson had been considering a run, but Floyd’s death pushed her over the edge.
“It took away any excuse or reason I had not to run,” Johnson said. “If we want change, we must put ourselves in position to make the changes we are protesting about.”
Napier has yet to update his 2018 campaign site, though his daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer last week (a GoFundMe page has already raised more than $27,000).
Diamond has not done any public campaigning that we’re aware of.
The primary will be on Tuesday, August 11. Absentee voting runs from June 26 to August 10. The two candidates with the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election on November 3. The primary will also include voting for U.S. Senate candidates.
Learn more about where and how to vote.
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