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Josh Reimnitz

Josh Reimnitz

Josh Reimnitz edged closer to victory Thursday over Patty Wycoff in their hard-fought contest for Minneapolis school board in a district stretching between downtown and the Isles area.

His lead over Wycoff expanded with results from the first of three precincts to be hand-counted Wednesday and Thursday. With two precincts remaining to be counted, he expanded his lead from 573 to 752 votes, according to newly posted totals. That's 51.3 percent, compared to Wycoff's 47.8 percent.

Reimnitz said earlier Thursday that he’s “cautiously optimistic.” Wycoff had been hoping she’d do well enough in two of the precincts in Lowry Hill East, where she works part time at a restaurant, to overcome his lead. But Reimnitz drew 57 percent in the first of them to be counted.

Small printing errors on ballots caused aging scanners to balk at reading them Tuesday, prompting the effort by hand involving teams of election workers at the city’s northeast Minneapolis election warehouse. City Clerk Casey Carl said an average of two dozen people at a time are counting 34 questions on each ballots in teams of two.