ST. PAUL – Former St. Paul City Council member Chris Coleman had a nearly 2-to-1 margin over Mayor Randy Kelly, a fellow Democratic-Farmer-Labor party member, according to unofficial results of the 2005 mayoral primary Tuesday.
With all precincts reporting, Coleman had 52 percent, or 13,041 votes, while Kelly had 27 percent, or 6,740 votes. Green Party candidate Elizabeth Dickinson, who narrowly missed getting into the general election in 2003, also had a strong showing, with 19 percent, or 4,905 votes.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have nonpartisan primaries, in which the top two vote-getters advance to the general election in November -- regardless of their party. Unofficial results Tuesday indicated that all four mayoral candidates in both cities would be DFLers.
"We said we'd come in second. That comes as no surprise," said Kelly campaign spokesman Vince Muzik, as the mayor and his supporters watched returns at Mancini's Char House on West Seventh Street.
Kelly has described himself as a DFLer who can appeal to Republicans as well as independents.
However, he has been at odds with many party activists for endorsing Republican President Bush in 2004 instead of his Democratic opponent, John Kerry. Coleman, meanwhile, received Kerry's backing.
Coleman said he attributed his numbers to Kelly's support of Republicans.
"Whether it was Bush, (Gov. Tim) Pawlenty or others that have cut money from the city, have destroyed our services here, it's pretty clear that he's not working with the people that we need to work with to make the city of St. Paul stronger," Coleman told KSTP-TV earlier in the evening.
In Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak took more votes than his main DFL challenger, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rybak had 44 percent, or 14,766 votes, while McLaughlin had 35 percent, or 11,734 votes. There were 12 candidates on the ballot for mayor.
Both incumbent mayors have said their rivals had support among the DFL faithful who turn out for primaries, and both have claimed they'll do better in November, with a larger and more broad-based electorate.
The general election in Minneapolis' Ward 6 will feature two City Council incumbents -- both of whom have had run-ins with the law -- who are squaring off because of redistricting.
City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren had 48 percent, or 694 votes, and City Council member Dean Zimmermann had 44 percent, or 635 votes, in Tuesday's primary.
Zimmermann, a Green Party candidate, is the subject of an FBI investigation that alleges he took cash from a developer in exchange for help with zoning permits. Agents searched his home last week and took computers, personal records and a campaign mailing.
In May, Lilligren pleaded guilty to drunken driving and received a 45-day sentence -- 43 days were stayed.