Final Results for the 2020 West St. Paul Election

Thanks to Southview Garden Center for their support.

Mayor Dave Napier retains his seat in West St. Paul, and women win all three City Council races, according to preliminary results. West St. Paul will now have a female majority on the City Council for the first time ever.

These are preliminary results as absentee ballots can continue to come in (this includes ballots received through November 3). Results won’t be official until certified by election officials. We’ll update this post as more details come in—these results could change.

Final results came in on November 10 and were certified by the City Council on November 12. There were 11 additional votes for mayor, and a handful for the Council races, so the ballots that arrived after election day had no impact.

Final Election Results

Candidate:Vote Totals:Percentage:
Mayor:
Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson3,680 3,68734.59% 34.62%
Dave Napier6,910 6,91464.95% 64.92%
Ward 1 City Council:
Julie Eastman1,649 1,65258.81% 58.85%
Bob Pace1,14140.69% 40.65%
Ward 2 City Council:
Anthony Fernandez1,593 1,59446.57% 46.53%
Robyn Gulley1,801 1,80552.65% 52.69%
Ward 3 City Council:
Lisa Eng-Sarne2,214 2,21756.36% 56.40%
David Meisinger1,69443.13% 43.09%
Crossed out numbers were preliminary reported on election night.

Trends and Historical Notes

  • Absentee spike: Thanks to COVID-19, absentee voting saw an incredible spike. We hit 57% absentee voting in the primary, and previous elections saw 15% (2016) and 9.8% (2012). Last report was 43% absentee, and the final tally is 59.5% of West St. Paul voters in 2020 voted absentee.
  • Turnout: Looks like 2020 had a turnout of 83.9% among registered voters.
  • Historic women: In 2019, West St. Paul’s City Council had more than one woman for the first time ever with Wendy Berry’s win and the appointment of Lisa Eng-Sarne. In 2021, the Council will be majority female for the first time ever with three women winning tonight—Eng-Sarne, Julie Eastman, and Robyn Gulley who will join Berry to create a 4-2 female majority. To give some perspective on this, since West St. Paul’s founding in 1889, 158 men and seven women have served on City Council. After this election, the number of women will go up to nine.
  • Racial diversity: While the City Council became more gender diverse, it will become less racially diverse. The first Latino elected to City Council, Anthony Fernandez, lost his bid for re-election while the first ever Black candidate, Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson, lost her bid for mayor.
  • Mayor’s race: Incumbent Mayor Dave Napier had a strong performance, much like in 2018 when he won with almost 63%. While these are strong wins, it’s encouraging to see a string of contested mayoral races. 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 have all been contested. That’s a stark contrast to 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2012 when there was virtually no contest. Regardless of the winner or the margin, contested races force debate and dialogue.
  • Money: We touched on how much campaigns have spent in a previous post, but it will be a while before we have final numbers on campaign spending. But looking at initial numbers, it’s a draw. In half the races the candidates who spent more won.
  • History repeats: Much like 50 years ago when a former mayor ran for City Council and lost, former Mayor David Meisinger lost his race for Ward 3 City Council.

Thank you to the candidates for running and to West St. Paul for turning out and voting.

Local election coverage only happens with your support. Like that iconic ‘I Voted’ sticker? You can get a magnet version illustrated by West St. Paul’s Carolyn Swiszcz in our Etsy shop.

One comment

  1. In the first paragraph, why is the fact that women win all 3 City Council races and that West St. Paul will have a female majority on the city council for the first time ever more important than these women’s names? Why not take Mayor Dave Napier’s name out of that first sentence and just say “A man” if this is all about gender. Seems silly when it is a man, doesn’t it?

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