Duluth Mayor Emily Larson lost her bid for a third term Tuesday night to self-described “centrist” Democrat Roger Reinert.
Reinert, a Navy veteran, served as a Democrat in the Minnesota Legislature for several years but opted not to seek the DFL Party’s endorsement in the mayoral contest. Larson had the backing of both the DFL and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who touted her record of “standing up for progressive values” in an endorsement.
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to tonight, but one night and one race and one election — that cannot ever sour us from our work and our impact and purpose and our why,” Larson told supporters during a concession speech. “Because there are so many things that I am proud of.”
Reinert handily won the race, earning about 60% of the vote to Larson’s 40%, according to election results from the Secretary of State’s Office. The warning bells sounded for Larson’s reelection campaign in August when Reinert placed first in a five-way primary. He positioned himself as a centrist who campaigned on issues like fixing Duluth’s streets and lowering property taxes.
Reinert said Larson called to congratulate him before he took the stage for a victory speech at Clyde Iron Works.
“We want to move forward from a challenging election and bring our community back together,” he said. “Whether you supported me or whether you didn’t, I am still a mayor for this entire community.”
The mayor-elect touted his pragmatic credentials and vowed to leave the politics of a “hotly contested” campaign in the past.
“That’s what I’ve always been about,” he said. “I’m willing to work with you wherever you are at. If we have 5% in common, let’s work on that 5%.”