The number of candidates vying for three Duluth City Council seats was whittled down Tuesday as voters headed to the polls for the primary election.

Voters forward incumbents for two At Large council seats

Out of a pool of seven candidates, two incumbents and two political newcomers will move forward in the election for the open council seats.

To clinch the two open At Large seats in November, incumbents Arik Forsman and Noah Hobbs said their approach is to maintain their current course. While Derek Medved and Mike Mayou said their new opinions will be a strength.

Mayou, a University of Minnesota Duluth student studying marketing and management information systems, gained around 18% of the vote, which is enough to land him on November’s ballot.

He said he's bringing a "fresh progressive voice" that will put "people over profits and community over corporations."

Over the past several days his campaign knocked on more than 3,000 doors, Mayou said.

"We're building a campaign for people left behind by politics," he said.

Hobbs, who joined the council in 2015 and served as president in 2018, said in an interview that Tuesday night’s results show the community is happy with the direction the city is going.

“I think these results are a testament that folks want broad coalitions that will move Duluth forward,” Hobbs said while addressing a post-election party at the Reef Bar.

Hobbs said Duluth BizPAC, a local political action committee, identified him as a “target” in the election.

“We have to continue to knock on doors. We can’t beat them with money, so we have to beat them with people power,” he said.

Hobbs and Forsman each had around 25% and 27% of the votes, respectively, while Medved had around 22% of the votes.

Although Medved is polling close, Hobbs said in an interview this won’t change his strategy over the next three months. “We’ll continue to do what we’ve done, and clearly it was shown that that’s what folks want,” he said.

The next few months will see Medved getting his message out beyond what he calls his stronghold in the western neighborhoods. “I believe I have a really good track record in business of getting things done,” he said. “I think the message is clear that together anything is possible.”

“We’re going to be that positive voice for change and create a better economy and stronger economy,” Medved said.

Incumbent At Large Councilor Forsman said he’s not focused on the competition. Instead, he will continue connecting with people.

“I think I have a reputation as somebody who shows up,” he said.

He was appointed to the council in 2018. He was selected from a pool of 20 candidates after Elissa Hansen stepped down from the council in July 2018 for a new job.

Because Forsman has only been on the council for around one year, he said he has a “fresh perspective.”

“It’s just enough experience to know what I'm talking about,” he said. "I think I still bring a fresh perspective to what the challenges are.”

O’Halloran-Johnson, Randorf advance to November’s election

Theresa O’Halloran-Johnson and Roz Randorf will face off in November’s election to fill the open 3rd District City Council seat, after incumbent Em Westerlund announced in February that she would not seek a second term.

Over the next three months, O’Halloran-Johnson said her campaign will primarily focus on door knocking.

“I really like to ask people what they want — what do they want to see in a councilor,” she said. “Finding out what their concerns are really helps me understand what I would need to do to be a good councilor.”

Randorf said she plans to follow a similar strategy of putting people first through outreach and community engagement.

“The district is really diverse, and to really convince people you can see where they’re coming from and really be a voice for them … They’ll see I have the temperament and personality to be able to do that,” she said.

While Ryan Glenn appeared on the ballot for the seat, he dropped out of the race in early July.

Randorf took nearly 48 percent of the vote Tuesday, compared to about 33 percent for O’Halloran-Johnson out of 1,380 votes cast.