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Hodges leads as ballots are counted in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis City Council member emerged from a mayoral field crowded with 35 candidates in an election featuring a new, and to some confusing, form of voting.

Betsy Hodges maintained a convincing lead, with 36 percent of Tuesday’s vote, through a complicated ballot-counting process Wednesday.

It was the biggest test yet for ranked-choice voting, in which ballots are cast for voters’ first, second and third choices. The system was designed to eliminate primary elections.

Because the system is complex, election officials never expected quick returns. They were right; after four hours of work beginning at noon Wednesday, they had eliminated just one candidate from the long list.

Most observers predicted Hodges would survive the lengthy count and expect her to replace three-term Mayor R.T. Rybak, who did not seek re-election.

Hodges’ apparent win was a bit of a blow to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party establishment. Most of its powerful members who took a side in the race backed Mark Andrew, who was in second place.

Ranked-choice voting also was delaying returns for some Minneapolis City Council seats, although Abdi Warsame became the highest-ranking Somali-American in the country when he won a council seat.

In St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman had no problem winning his third term as the capital city leader.

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