Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Former State Representative Kim Norton won a majority of the votes cast in Tuesday’s primary election for Rochester Mayor, giving her a commanding lead among the six other candidates who campaigned to succeed Mayor Ardell Brede next year.

Norton, who also served on the Rochester School Board before her election to the State House as a Democrat, won 52-percent of the nearly 18,000 votes cast in the Mayor’s race. Norton will face Charlie O’Connell in November. The Lieutenant Colonel in the Minnesota National Guard and Security Intelligence Specialist for the Mayo Clinic finished second in the primary with 2,687 votes, for just under 15-percent of the total.

It was was a very tight race for the five candidates vying for the Fifth Ward Seat on the Rochester City Council currently held by Mark Hickey. The top vote-getter was former city employee Shawn Palmer, who garnered a little over 23-percent of the vote. He’ll face Hickey’s wife, Judy Hickey, in November. She ended up with just under 21-percent of the votes and beat the third-place candidate, Byron Clark, by fewer than 20 votes.

In the city’s First Ward, where Ed Hruska is retiring as the most senior member of the City Council, the November ballot will feature a battle between two political newcomers. Patrick Keane was the front-runner in the primary with 36-percent of the vote, while Heather Holmes edged former City Councilmember Paul Myhrom by only 5 votes to finish second with a little over 27-percent of the votes cast.

There were also two Rochester School Board seats on the primary ballot.
Melissa Amundsen and Cathy Nathan were the clear front-runners, with each winning nearly 55-percent of the votes cast for the positions now held by Gary Smith and Anne Becker. Amundsen will face Bruce Kaskubar, who garnered 28-percent of the vote, while Nathan will appear on the fall ballot with Greg Gallas who won almost 33-percent of the votes.