ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Melvin Carter will be the city of St. Paul’s first African-American mayor.
The Mayor-elect had a stunningly decisive victory. He cruised to victory in the first ballot of a ranked-choice election that city officials expected to take days to count.
The 38-year-old candidate campaigned with an impressive list of endorsements, an an equally impressive family history of service to the city of St. Paul.
Amid the celebrations Tuesday night, even Mayor-elect Melvin Carter said he was stunned by the speed of his election in a ranked choice election with 10 candidates.
“I told my children, ‘Don’t expect anything tonight, we’re not going to know tonight. There is just no way, with 10 candidates, for anybody to clear 50 percent of those choices,’ and we did which feels like the impossible,” he said.
Carter, a former St. Paul City Council member and current executive director of Minnesota Children’s cabinet, won in a race widely expected to be a lot closer. Carter had the most prominent endorsements in either the St. Paul or Minneapolis major races, including Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Keith Ellison.
Carter’s mother, Toni Carter, has been a Ramsey County Commissioner since 2006. A 1998 WCCO story profiled his father, retired St. Paul police Sargent Melvin Carter Jr., and his grandfather, jazz musician Melvin Carter.
Also featured in that 1998 story — a fiery, 20-year-old future mayor speaking out against gang violence.
“Why do we allow our youth to be overcome by drugs, gangs, violence and oppression?” Carter said in the story. “Why do we allow young men to overpower old women and take their possessions? Will the real black man please take a stand?”
On Wednesday, the mayor-elect of St. Paul spent the day privately celebrating his win with his wife and three young children.
Political analysts, including professor David Schultz, say one factor contributing to his decisive win — a widely condemned, last-minute pamphlet from supporters of one of his opponents trying to link a theft of two guns from Carter’s home to an increase in recent gun violence in St. Paul.