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MPR News: Municipal elections: Change sweeps St. Paul school board, Duluth elects first woman mayor

Minnesota voters took to the polls Tuesday for municipal elections packed with funding issues and focused on schools.

More than 50 school districts across the state filled open seats on their boards. Voters also approved the majority of school district levy requests to fund teacher salaries, utility bills, capital projects and more.

Duluth voters elected Emily Larson as the city’s first female mayor and longtime Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead was re-elected to a fifth term.

Perhaps the most closely watched races took place in St. Paul, where a teachers union-backed slate of candidates swept the vacant seats on the school board and voters returned five incumbents to their seats on the St. Paul City Council.

Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky said Tuesday evening that he wasn’t seeing any major surprises in turnout.

“As far as we can tell, it looks like we’re tracking along pretty close to our prediction, which was 13 percent of our eligible population here in St. Paul, which would be about 29,000 voters,” Mansky said.

Mansky said St. Paul’s Ward 2 — which stretches from the city’s Lowertown neighborhood and includes West 7th Street and Summit Hill — and Ward 5 — which includes the Como neighborhood as well as parts of the city’s North End and Payne-Phalen neighborhoods — were seeing the highest turnouts by early evening. Both wards played host to hotly contested races for city council seats.