Rochester council races close

August 16, 2018
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Potential recounts loom for Rochester City Council ward races.

While each of the two primary races had a clear top vote-getter, the second names headed for the Nov. 6 general election ballot could be in contention.

Rochester City Clerk Anissa Hollingshead said it will likely depend on the interpretation of state regulations on whether candidates in both races can file a challenge.

“It looks like they could both request a recount,” she said after a preliminary review Tuesday night, but she noted more research would be needed today.

A recount is most likely in Ward 1.

While Patrick Keane walked away with 36.1 percent of the votes in the southern ward, only five votes separate Heather Holmes and Paul Myhrom, who each saw approximately 27 percent of the 3,443 votes cast.

Myhrom, who received an unofficial 930 votes, fell behind Holmes, who had 935. He said he ask for the results to to be checked.

“There will be a recount,” he said Tuesday morning. “I owe it to my supporters.”

In Ward 5, Shaun Palmer was the front-runner with 23.2 percent of the votes, followed by Judy Hickey, who took 20.9 percent.

Byron Clark trailed by 18 votes in the largely northeast ward, which Hollingshead said could put him within striking distance of a potential recount.

Clark said he’s unsure whether the potential margin for error with current technology makes it worthwhile but added he’d look at options.

“It’s a possibility that I would consider,” he said Tuesday night.

Palmer said the tight race indicates the ward was presented with a good field of candidates.

As the field narrows to two, he said he plans to continue focusing on the people of the ward.

“I think speaking for the neighbors makes a difference,” he said.

Hickey sees the move toward a general election as a chance to show the people in her ward that she’d done the homework needed to represent them.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done between now and November,” she said, noting she will be working on plans in the coming weeks.

In Ward 1, Keane said he’s also looking forward to considering his next steps after leading the city council race. He said he wants to take a closer look at the numbers to determine whether his efforts to meet voters face-to-face paid off.

“I don’t take this as any clear mandate,” he said, while noting Holmes and Myhrom outspent his campaign by thousands of dollars.

“I am committed to making sure that we grow our community to meet the needs of everyone,” he said. “I will be the independent voice for Ward 1.”

Holmes could not be reached for comment after the election results were tallied, but Myhrom said he feels low conservative turnout hurt his efforts to return to the city council seat, based on straight-ticket voting in statewide elections.

“The people I was counting on didn’t turn out at the polls,” he said.

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