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Incumbent Mayor Dave Napier easily won yesterday’s primary with 62% of the vote. He’ll advance to the November election along with Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson who had 32%.
These are preliminary results as absentee ballots can continue to come in. Results won’t be official until Thursday, but it’s unlikely the result will change. The third place finisher, Jonathan Diamond, had less than 4%.
Preliminary & Official Results
|Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson|
Trends and Historical Comparison
- Absentee spike (added Aug. 14, 2020): Looking at the official election results, absentee voting accounted for 57% of total votes. During the 2018 primary only 11% voted absentee.
- Napier’s streak: This is the third straight primary that Napier has won decisively. He faced primaries in 2012, 2016, and 2020 and won with healthy margins in each one.
- Johnson’s battle: Finishing second means Johnson advances to the general, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. Going back to 1988 there have been 20 primaries in West St. Paul (mayor and council races), and only once has the second place primary finisher gone on to win. That was current Council Member Dick Vitelli in his first run in 1988. In that race, Vitelli was down by only 15 votes in the primary. (Of course it’s 2020—anything can happen.)
- Turnout: The last mayoral primary in 2016 had turnout of about 20%. This year it bumped up to
27%29%. That’s a decent boost considering this four-way race wasn’t really contested by all four candidates (one dropped out). But it’s nothing compared to the 2018 ward 3 primary, when turnout hit 40% in a hotly contested four-way race, a massive bump from 10% in the 2016 ward 3 primary (which also featured Napier).
- By ward/precinct: If we look at the results by ward and precinct, there’s a similar division to what we saw in the 2020 Democratic primary. In those results, Joe Biden won the city, but he lost ward 2 and the northern precincts to Bernie Sanders. In this case the results didn’t flip as dramatically, but there’s a similar divide. Johnson did the best in ward 2 and the northern precincts. Not enough to flip any precinct, but she did narrow the gap. You can see the divide with the best and worst precincts for both candidates: Ward 2, precinct 1 went 54% for Napier and 42% for Johnson while ward 1, precinct 2 went 71% for Napier and 19% for Johnson.
(Note that all of this analysis is subject to change with the final results.)
On to the General
Now it’s on to the general election on November 3. Voting by mail or in person begins September 18. The West St. Paul city website has details on where and how to vote. We’ll be continuing our 2020 election coverage, so look for our Q&As with the candidates.
Here’s a look at the general election ballot for West St. Paul races:
City Council Ward 1
City Council Ward 2
City Council Ward 3
- Lisa Eng-Sarne (incumbent) (campaign site)
- David Meisinger
No matter who you’re supporting, be sure to get out there and vote.
Local election coverage only happens with your support.