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Sayles Belton ousted; Kelly wins close race in St. PaulThe new mayors
Political newcomer R.T.Rybak outpolled incumbent Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton Tuesday, highlighting several races around the state. But the race in St. Paul was tighter, with Randy Kelly winning by about 400 votes. City Council member Jay Benanav has decided not to seek a recount, but still isn't exactly conceding.
Campaign Coverage
Audio: The winners on Midday
Rybak wins in Minneapolis
Down to the wire in St. Paul
Most school levies pass

Campaign Stories from MPR

The political legacy of Sharon Sayles Belton
R.T. Rybak's mayoral victory in Minneapolis Tuesday marks the end of Sharon Sayles Belton's eight years in office. She was the first black and the first woman elected mayor in Minneapolis when she won the office in 1993. She leaves her post in January as the city's crime rate is at it's lowest point in decades, and downtown development is at a peak. Her friends and coworkers say the achievements are part of her legacy. (November 7, 2001)
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Kelly beats Benanav in St. Paul mayor's race
State Sen. Randy Kelly defeated City Council member Jay Benanav in the race to succeed Norm Coleman as mayor of St. Paul. But Kelly won by only about 400 votes. (November 6, 2001)

Sayles Belton loses bid for third term
Sharon Sayles Belton lost her bid for a third term Tuesday to a political novice who said he would to do more with less and be the salesman that Sayles Belton never was. (November 6, 2001)

Record number of school districts seek help from voters
The closest thing to a statewide race on Minnesota ballots Tuesday was a flood of school districts asking for money. Most referenda passed. (November 6, 2001)

Minneapolis mayoral campaign intensifies in final days
Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton is forcefully fighting for her political career in the final days before the election. Squaring off against challenger R.T. Rybak at a Minnesota Public Radio forum Sunday night, Sayles Belton questioned Rybak's promise to shun campaign donations by those with business interests in City Hall. She also strongly defended her administration against Rybak's accusation that the city is mismanaged. (November 5, 2001)

Benanav, Kelly hold final debate
Voters in St. Paul will choose a new Mayor Tuesday. With Norm Coleman not seeking a third term, the race to succeed him has been a hard fought contest between Randy Kelly and Jay Benanav. The candidates met at the Fitzgerald Theater Sunday for the final debate of the campaign. (November 4, 2001)

Poll: Kelly leads Benanav
With just a few days left in the campaign, state Sen. Randy Kelly holds a 6-percentage-point lead over St. Paul City Council member Jay Benanav in the race to succeed Mayor Norm Coleman, according to a new poll from Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (November 2, 2001)

Winona schools face severe cutbacks if levy fails
Winona schools may be forced to make some of the most severe cuts in the state if the voters turn down a school referendum. Should the referendum fail, extracurricular activities, sports, and all-day every-day kindergarten will vanish next year. In the past, the district has had a difficult time securing the public's financial support. This time the stakes appear to be higher.(November 1, 2001)
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Profile: Randy Kelly
Voters in St. Paul choose a new mayor on Tuesday. State Sen. Randy Kelly and City Council member Jay Benanav have had plenty of chances to debate each other, and those meetings have clarified the candidates' differences. Kelly, who has been endorsed by outgoing Mayor Norm Coleman, says he will continue down the path Coleman has set for the city. (November 1, 2001)
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Poll: Rybak leads Sayles Belton
Political newcomer R.T. Rybak leads Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton in a poll conducted by Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Rybak has a 12-point lead among likely voters in the city. But 14 percent of those polled say they haven't made up their minds. (November 1, 2001)

Rochester schools try again
When Rochester voters go to the polls November 6, they'll be voting on one item - money for schools. Last year people in Rochester refused, and the school board cut the district's budget by $9 million. This year, district officials are asking for less and getting the word out. Even so, educators worry predictions of an economic recession, world events and property tax reform will distract voters. (October 31, 2001)
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Profile: Jay Benanav
Norm Coleman's decision not to seek a third term as mayor of St. Paul made for a crowded field of would-be successors this summer. But since the September 11 primary narrowed the list of candidates to two - Jay Benanav and Randy Kelly - the campaign has become more focused. Here's a profile of Jay Benanav. (October 31, 2001)
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Campaign Profile: Minneapolis School Board
Five challengers running for Minneapolis school board are promising a new approach to running the state's largest school district. (October 26, 2001)

Race Profile: St. Paul School Board
New faces on the St. Paul school board could bring new challenges to Superintendent Pat Harvey and her wide ranging school reform efforts. Six candidates are running for the three school board seats on the November 6th ballot, and only one incumbent is seeking re-election. (October 25, 2001)

Profile: Sharon Sayles Belton
Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton is in a tight race in her bid for a third term in office. The city enjoys relative economic prosperity, crime is low and, by all accounts, the mayor has delivered on what she's promised. But Sayles Belton has had trouble turning that message into voter support. (October 24, 2001)

St. Paul candidates reflect their roots
St. Paul is often called a city of neighborhoods. The candidates in this year's mayoral race represent parts of the city that illustrate the strength and range of its neighborhoods. Randy Kelly represents the East Side in the state Senate. City Council member Jay Benanav represents the fourth ward, an area that includes Merriam Park and other western neighborhoods. (October 24, 2001)

Profile: R.T. Rybak
R.T. Rybak hopes to become the first challenger to unseat an incumbent Minneapolis mayor since 1977. Backers say the political newcomer has a gift for energizing people toward his causes. (October 23, 2001)

More levy referendums than ever for Minnesota schools
More than half of the school districts in Minnesota are asking local taxpayers for additional financial support this fall, the most ever. Those requests come in the form of excess tax levy referendums on the November 6 ballot. In a normal year, no more than a fifth of the school districts hold levy votes. But educators statewide say this has been far from a normal year when it comes to school funding. (October 19, 2001)

Back to business in St. Paul
Voter turnout is typically low in off-year elections, when only local races are decided. But in St. Paul this year, at least one constituency claims to be more involved in the mayor's race. Some of the city's business leaders say their interest in local politics grew during the administration of Mayor Norm Coleman, and business people seem to be paying more attention than usual to the race to succeed Coleman. (October 11, 2001)

Campaigning during a crisis
Since the terrorist attacks in New York, political campaigns for the top offices in the Twin Cities have taken on a more somber and less combative tone. Candidates have to walk a fine line to promote their political agendas while also appearing sensitive to the tragedies. (September 26, 2001)

Benanav, Kelly head for November showdown
DFLers Jay Benanav and Randy Kelly have emerged from the St. Paul mayoral field to face one another on the November ballot. The winner will succeed Norm Coleman, who is not seeking a third term as mayor. (September 12, 2001)

Sayles Belton, Rybak Advance
Despite a slow start that included being passed over for endorsement by her own party, Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton survived a vigorous primary challenge Tuesday to move on to November's general election. (September 12, 2001)

The 'Norm' Factor
Norm Coleman is not seeking a third term as mayor of St. Paul, but his imprint is visible on this year's race. The relationships of the major mayoral candidates to Coleman and his legacy are among the political angles at play in Tuesday's mayoral primary. (September 7, 2001)

Campaign Focus: Minneapolis Finances
The next mayor of Minneapolis will have broad power to set the tone for the city through proposing tax and spending priorities. Challengers for the seat say the city can't afford to continue on the track of expanding budgets and high-priced development projects. Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, meanwhile, points to a period of unprecedented growth and opportunity on her watch. (September 7, 2001)

Minneapolis mayoral candidates debate
The four frontrunners for the mayor's seat in Minneapolis debated city finances, housing for those who want it, City Hall corruption and even snow removal at an MPR forum Wednesday night. By all accounts the race is close and the candidates are elbowing to try and be one of the top two to go on to the general election in November. (September 6, 2001)

St. Paul debate puts housing at number-one issue
The six leading candidates in Saint Paul's mayoral race gathered at Concordia University for their last debate before Tuesday's primary. The six are competing for the City Hall office Norm Coleman is vacating after two terms. (September 5, 2001)

St. Paul Candidate Profiles - Part Two
St. Paul voters will elect a new mayor this year, with incumbent Norm Coleman stepping down after two four-year terms. Coleman's successor will likely come from a group of six candidates who have run the most aggressive mayoral campaigns. (September 4, 2001)

Campaign 2001: Gore stumps for Sayles Belton
Former Vice President Al Gore refused to answer questions about his political future, during a stop Monday in Minneapolis. Gore was the keynote speaker at a campaign fundraiser for Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton. (September 3, 2001)

National names dot local political landscape
With a week to go before the Minneapolis mayoral primary, a couple of the front-running candidates are bringing in heavy hitters from the national Democratic party. Former Vice President Al Gore campaigned in Minneapolis for incumbent Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, and former U.S. senator and Gore's rival for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination Bill Bradley flew in for a rally for DFL mayoral candidate R.T. Rybak. The two other leading candidates say the national names don't represent any significant support on the local level. (September 2, 2001)

Profiles of St. Paul mayoral candidates
St. Paul voters will soon narrow the field of candidates hoping to succeed Mayor Norm Coleman, who is not running for re-election. The two candidates emerging from the September 11 primary will likely come from a group that includes Jay Benanav, Randy Kelly, Jerry Blakey, Bob Long, Bob Kessler, and Bobbi Megard. We take a closer look at candidates Megard, Long, and Kessler. (August 31, 2001)

Minneapolis candidates debate housing issues
The four major candidates for Minneapolis mayor explained how they'd supply more affordable housing in the city. City Council member Lisa McDonald, Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein, business consultant R. T. Rybak and Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton gave their views at a forum Tuesday night sponsored by two housing advocacy groups. (August 21, 2001)

Sayles Belton on defensive in mayoral debate
Four Minneapolis mayoral candidates met Wednesday evening to debate their qualifications for the city's top post. The candidates used the forum to challenge each other on city issues including economic development, affordable housing and crime. (August 16, 2001)

St. Paul candidates try to break from the pack
In less than a month, St. Paul voters will narrow a crowded mayoral field from 16 candidates down to two. The six leading candidates in the primary race to succeed outgoing Mayor Norm Coleman took part in a forum on MPR's Midday. ReadListen

'Status-quo budget' marks Coleman's exit
Mayor Norm Coleman is sending his last budget proposal to the St. Paul City Council, and for the eighth straight year, the budget calls for no increase in city taxes. But Coleman, who is not seeking re-election, may be leaving City Hall just in time. Some city officials expect a slowing economy will make it more difficult to maintain St. Paul's recent pattern of avoiding tax increases without cutting services. (August 14, 2001)

Housing need is common thread in mayoral campaign
The leading candidates for mayor in Minneapolis all list the need for more affordable housing as a top campaign issue, but they have significantly different approaches to the addressing the problem. Four mayoral hopefuls appeared individually Minnesota's Public Radio's Midday program, where they outlined their leadership styles and spending priorities for the state's largest city. (August 13, 2001)