Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly advanced Duluth Mayor Emily Larson to November's ballot, while David Nolle emerged victorious over a plethora of challengers to face her head-on in the general election.
With all precincts reporting and absentee ballots counted, Larson had 66 percent of the vote to Nolle's 12 percent.
"It always feels good to get to know that your message is resonating (and) people are excited about the direction of the city — where we're going, what we're doing and the feeling of harmony," Larson told the News Tribune on Tuesday night.
Larson and Nolle beat Corey Ford, Caleb Anderson, Jesse Peterson, Doris Queen Lavender, John Socha, Daniel Weatherly and Donald Raihala to advance to the November election.
Nolle, a former executive director for Boy Scouts of America, said he heard from many residents that they are "open to fresh ideas, fresh leadership — the challenge will be to turn out the vote."
"Folks want someone who's not going to be partisan," he said. "I've been able to bring an outsider's voice to the table to bring about positive change."
Larson, the first woman to be Duluth's mayor and a former city councilor and social worker, easily won her first term in 2015.
"I'm just super excited to continue rolling up our sleeves with the Larson for Duluth campaign and keep going," she said.
Nolle is a political outsider who moved to Duluth in 2010 and acknowledges it will take a lot of outreach to win in November.
"I know there are a lot of folks who don't know me and my leadership style — diagnosing situations, managing myself and taking action," he said. "This should show everyone's vote can and will count, and it's our duty to participate and get informed and get out and vote."
Larson isn't taking her votes for granted either.
"We have a lot to do between now and November," Larson told a crowd at the Reef Bar where union-backed candidates gathered Tuesday night. "We know that when we talk with people about what their experience is in this city ... it matters. People see it. They feel it. And they vote."
8,014 ballots were cast in Duluth's election out of 53,383 registered voters, a turnout of 15 percent. To compare, the crowded 2018 primary ballot drew nearly twice as many voters, and the last time the mayor's office was up for grabs in 2015 about 16 percent of Duluth voters had their say in the primary.