As ballots were tallied around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Ward 3 City Council Member Jacob Frey led a pack of 16 mayoral hopefuls with 25 percent of first-choice votes.
Frey pulled ahead of Tom Hoch and Mayor Betsy Hodges, who sported 19 and 18 percent of first-choice votes, respectively. State Rep. Raymond Dehn and former Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds rounded out the top five, each sporting under 18 percent of first-choice votes.
“We feel good. The numbers aren’t all in yet, we’re cautiously optimistic at this point. But clearly we still have some counting to do," Frey said Tuesday night.
As many as 100,000 turned out to polling places in Minneapolis Tuesday.
Susan Smoluchowski, executive director of the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, attended Frey's election party on Tuesday evening.
Smoluchowski said she saw Frey as the right candidate to bring residents together
"I really think Jacob has the ability to do that like none other," she said.
Frey, 36, first took office as Ward 3 City Council member in 2013. Ward 3 encompasses part of Marcy-Holmes, Dinkytown and downtown neighborhoods.
Frey announced he would vacate his seat to run in the city’s mayoral race earlier this year. While on the council, Frey’s focus on development brought rapid growth to his ward — drawing praise but also concerns of gentrification.
Frey, alongside other council members, passed a citywide minimum wage increase ordinance over the summer. He also co-authored the city’s sick and safe time ordinance that passed in May 2016.
Frey criticized Hodges in July after the fatal police shooting of Justine Damond plunged Minneapolis into yet another controversy. This time, the killing ended with a resignation from then-police Chief Janee Harteau. Damond's fiance, Don Damond, endorsed Frey's mayoral efforts last week.