Voters in the south metro hit the polls and rewarded familiar candidates in Savage and Northfield races.
In Savage, the lone municipality in Scott County with open City Council seats on the ballot, three candidates jockeyed for two open spots. Voters gave strong support to incumbent Gene Abbott and candidate Bob Coughlen, who has been on the Planning Commission for 11 years and had previously run for City Council.
Abbott and Coughlen claimed decisive wins in the city of 31,000, defeating newcomer Carl J. Boudreau, a retired U.S. Coast Guard member with years of assorted law enforcement experience.
Ahead of the election, candidates focused on public safety, affordable housing and economic development as key concerns for Savage during a time of rapid growth. The suburb’s population has tripled since 1990, and City Council hopefuls said they want Savage to remain competitive with its neighbors.
Coughlen, an architectural designer and retired Army reservist, has highlighted the city’s need to boost lower-income housing options for seniors and working families.
Abbott, a civil engineer who has been on the council since 2006, has said his priorities include the city’s debt reduction plan, which has trimmed off 40 percent of $100 million owed since 2010. Abbott also said he supports equipping police officers with body cameras.
A special election in Northfield cemented the fate of a seat vacated after Council Member Rhonda Pownell was elected mayor last year. The seat on the seven-member council has been held by appointee Greg Colby, who took a commanding lead over two challengers Tuesday.
Final results showed Colby breezing by Jon Denison, a former council member, and Don McGee, who has been active on city boards. Colby has cited investing in trails and embracing diversity as important issues for Northfield.
Concerns over Northfield’s budget have been a sticking point for some during this election cycle, with the city of 20,000 mulling an 8.5 percent preliminary levy hike. The proposed jump is nearly 6 percent higher than the city’s average annual levy increase over the past five years, according to city staff.