2013 Election Results from the State of Minnesota for Hmong candidates: Dai Thao won a St. Paul City Council – Ward 1, Chue Vue won to hold a board of director for St. Paul Public School, and Blong Yang won a Minneapolis City Council.
Click here to watch Suab Hmong News team in Minnesota exclusive covered the Election for Hmong candidates.
Below is an article from www.tincities.com on Dai Thao:
Dai Thao is first Hmong-American elected to St. Paul City Council
By Frederick Melo email@example.com
Dai Thao, an information technology manager who moved to St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood from the North End two years ago, has defeated six other candidates to become the first Hmong-American elected to the city council.
He will represent Ward 1, which spans Frogtown, Summit-University and corners of surrounding neighborhoods, one of the most racially diverse areas of Minnesota.
An eight-hour hand count at the Ramsey County Government Building ended Monday afternoon with Dai Thao receiving 1,970 votes, or 41 percent.
Second-place vote-getter Noel Nix got 1,722 votes, or 36 percent, through the ranked-choice election process.
“The voters, they believed in the vision that we put forth — that our diversity is our strength,” Dai Thao said. “Our lives are interconnected. We want progress in the ward.”
He will be seated Nov. 21. He replaces interim council member Nathaniel Khaliq, who was appointed last summer when Melvin Carter III resigned to take a position with the Minnesota Education Department to oversee early learning initiatives.
Dai Thao’s election is indicative of a series of political and demographic shifts evident in St. Paul and Minneapolis, where newer immigrant groups are exercising more political clout within the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and beyond.
For the first time since 1980, the council will have no African-American members.
“I may not have the same experience as African-Americans, but I have similar experiences of being marginalized, of discrimination,” Dai Thao said. “The kids in Ward 1 are like my kids, and the elders are like my elders.”
Voters last week also elected the first Hmong-American, Somali-American and Latina members to the Minneapolis City Council. Attorney Blong Yang, tenant organizer Abdi Warsame and Minneapolis Public Schools communications specialist Alondra Cano will be seated in January, making the 13-member Minneapolis council the most racially diverse that it has ever been.
The St. Paul election represents a bit of a turnaround for Mayor Chris Coleman, who is closely associated with the city’s long-established DFL circles. Though the mayor had not officially endorsed a candidate, he had maintained a strong working relationship with Carter, the mayor’s former aide.
Those ties were expected to carry over to at least some degree to Nix, Carter’s former aide.
Dai Thao, who in 2008 became a recruiter and political organizer for Hmong members of the liberal activist group TakeAction Minnesota, ran with the support of TakeAction and the St. Paul firefighters union, IAF Local 21. He previously worked on the campaigns of state Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, and state Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, and was a staff organizer with ISAIAH, a faith-based social justice advocacy group.
Nix on Monday was gracious in defeat. “This was a historic moment for the city of St. Paul — the first Hmong-American was elected to the St. Paul City Council,” Nix said.
Nix also moved to the ward a little more than two years ago to work for Carter and has continued to serve as an aide to Khaliq. He said he hoped to find a new position where he can continue to be of service to the residents of Ward 1.
Nix said the challenges and opportunities facing the ward “are bigger than any one candidate, any one individual.” He added that Dai Thao “ran an incredible campaign, which is evidenced by the results.”
Dai Thao had received 28 percent of the vote on Election Night nearly a week earlier, outpacing Nix (who received 24 percent) by 181 votes out of 4,766 votes recorded.
As a result of the ranked-choice voting process, Dai Thao’s lead grew Monday when the weakest vote- getters were dropped and their voters’ second-choice and third-choice preferences were added into the tallies. Nearly 200 “suspended” ballots, where no first choice or too many first choice preferences were given, were added based on second-choices.
Johnny Howard, a retired auto worker and longtime community organizer, ended in third place. His vote totals were followed by those of candidates Debbie Montgomery, Kazoua Kong-Thao, Mark Voerding and Paul Holmgren, who also finished in their original positions from election night.
Some Ward 1 residents had criticized the hand-count process, which began nearly a week after the actual election. Elections officials said that while Minneapolis focused on tabulating its own ranked-choice mayoral and council elections last week, Ramsey County staff was busy canvassing council and school district races from across the county.
Jeanne Massey, director of FairVote Minnesota, said the counting process will be faster if and when Ramsey County chooses to purchase tabulation software specifically tailored to ranked-choice voting. That software, which is likely to become less expensive with time, can effectively scan ballots and digitize the results.
Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky has said he prefers the hand count, which improves transparency and confidence in the process.
Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo.