Latest political flip: Coin toss to settle Maplewood City Council race

Updated 6:53 p.m.

There were plenty of close races this midterm election in Minnesota — but a few, including one race in Maplewood, ended dead even.

Maplewood City Council member Marylee Abrams is tied with challenger Nikki Villavicencio for an at-large seat on the council. Both candidates received exactly 5,755 votes, tying for one of two at-large seats on the ballot in the suburban city.

Under state law, if there’s no clear winner after election day, it must be settled “by lot.”

Ties are broken with a draw, and it’s up to the local government on how to proceed. They can cut a deck of cards, draw straws or even pick a name out of a hat.

The Maplewood seat will be decided by a coin toss at the council meeting Tuesday night. After the coin toss occurs, either candidate can submit a petition by Nov. 20 for a taxpayer-funded recount of the results.

Abrams, a labor and employment law attorney, was first elected to the Maplewood City Council in 2013 and has lived in the city for more than 20 years. She has been involved in the local school district, as well as the White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce and local economic development groups. She is hoping to serve a second, four-year term on the council.

Villavicencio is a Democrat and long-time activist who has arthrogryposis and lobbied at the state Capitol for disability rights. She’s currently chair of the Maplewood Parks and Recreation Commission and a member of the city’s parks task force, where she was part of the push for a new 20-year master plan for the suburb.

The five-member Maplewood City Council is set to meet at 7 p.m.

There were a few other ties on election night in Minnesota beyond Maplewood.

The tiny Crow Wing County town of Manhattan Beach, population 57 during the 2010 Census count, has a tie in the race for mayor. Candidates Paul Allen and Kevin Larson are tied at 23 votes each.

It happened, too, in the Winona County town of Stockton, which also had a tied mayoral race. And several smaller towns will need to break ties for at-large seats.

Editor’s note: Villavicencio won the coin toss in Maplewood

Editor’s note: Know of any other Minnesota elections that ended in ties? What happened, and how were they settled? Post it in the comment section below.

  • Albin

    So they decided it with a coin toss last night. Does anyone know who won?