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After 11 hours of vote tallying Friday, Anika Bowie and Cheniqua Johnson were declared winners of City Council seats in St. Paul's First and Seventh wards, rounding out what is likely to be the first all-female council in city history.

The news of both victories — delivered after election judges painstakingly counted paper ballots by hand throughout the day — was greeted with cheers and applause from two dozen onlookers in a Ramsey County government building on the city's West Side.

The incoming council will also be historic for its youth and racial diversity. All seven members will be younger than age 40, and six will be women of color.

The City Council has not seen this much change at once since the 1990s.

"This is a huge milestone, but it's not just about the fact that we're all women," Johnson said. "We are experienced. We love and care about our city. And we have garnered the trust of our communities throughout the entire city of St. Paul. That's what we heard at the ballot box."

The outcomes marked across-the-board wins for the progressive bloc of candidates, who received endorsements from Mayor Melvin Carter and the city's DFL Party.

Their supporters celebrated the results, saying the makeup of the new council reflects demographic shifts in St. Paul's population. According to the Census Bureau, about half of the city's residents are nonwhite and the median age is 34, well below the metro-area median.

All seven council seats were on the ballot this year; four of the seats opened after the incumbents chose not to seek re-election.

Johnson, 28, will be the first Black woman to represent the East Side's Seventh Ward. Her six-way race was called Friday afternoon after more than seven hours of ballot counting. A total of 134 votes separated her from her closest opponent, social work professor Pa Der Vang.

Bowie, a 31-year-old entrepreneur and community organizer with roots in St. Paul's historic Rondo neighborhood, was deemed the winner of First Ward's eight-way race after five rounds of counting. School guidance counselor James Lo finished second.

"This moment is just so beautiful," Bowie said. "I just want to say: What we're going to do on the City Council is going to be so transformational."

Incumbents Rebecca Noecker, Mitra Jalali and Nelsie Yang won their races Tuesday, as did first-time candidate Hwa Jeong Kim, who edged out three challengers in the Fifth Ward.

In the Third Ward, civil engineer Saura Jost declared victory late Tuesday after her opponent, Isaac Russell, conceded. But Jost received 48% of first-choice votes, falling short of a majority, so officials will start the reallocation process in that race Monday.

Races in the First and Seventh wards were not decided on Election Day because none of the candidates met the 50% threshold needed to win ranked-choice contests. Bowie and Johnson led their races late Tuesday with 40% of first-choice votes.

St. Paul has used ranked-choice voting since 2011, meaning voters can cast their ballots for multiple candidates in order of preference. County election judges started counting ballots shortly after 8 a.m. Friday.

Campaign representatives were allowed to watch ballots being counted and sorted, but could not challenge vote counts. The opportunity for challenges will come after Wednesday when the City Council certifies the election results.

The new council will be sworn into office in January for four-year terms.

In a joint press release Friday evening, the seven members offered a list of priorities. They include upholding and improving rent stabilization; building climate resilience by modernizing street, bike and pedestrian infrastructure; and investing in community safety programs that interrupt cycles of violence.

"We are excited to govern alongside our community, building toward our shared vision for St. Paul these next four years," the statement said.