Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede and challenger Cindy Maves will compete in the Nov. 4 general election for the mayoral seat, after Brede garnered more than 51 percent of the votes in Tuesday's primary election.
"This was a great first step, and now we'll get ready for the 100-yard dash," Brede said.
Maves received 27 percent of the votes, and challenger Stephanie Kilen brought in 22 percent.
Maves has been involved as a citizen in local politics for the past five years and is the co-founder of the Rochester Tea Party Patriots. Kilen has nine years of experience with Rochester neighborhood initiatives and planning.
Tuesday's primary election brought out 8,332 voters for the mayoral race, with voter turnout ranging from 6 to 22 percent across the city. Olmsted County has 84,556 registered voters, and 11,440 cast ballots on Tuesday across the county.
Both Kilen and Maves campaigned heavily leading up to the primary, going door to door to talk to voters.
Maves said she's feeling "energized and ready to go" after advancing to the general election.
"I thought we ran a great campaign, and I really felt like we would be in the top two," Maves said.
Brede has been Rochester's mayor for 12 years and faced just one competitor in the last two mayoral races. In the 2010 race, candidate Pat Carr was working out of town and didn't do much campaigning.
"The last two that I did, I didn't have to do much (campaigning)," Brede said.
Brede has touted his experience and past leadership, including helping get legislation passed for the Destination Medical Center initiative and the Mayo Civic Center expansion/renovation. He said he was grateful to the other candidates and voters for coming out during the primary.
"I think (the candidates) brought a lot of attention to the issues," Brede said.
His campaign will be assessing how the primary went and how best to procede with campaign materials, like mailers and ads on TV and radio, he said. He said it's possible that many of his supporters didn't vote in the primary because they thought he would win.
"I will not take that for granted … We will put everything we have into it to win," he said. "Obviously, Cindy Maves has got a lot of people voting for her, as did Stephanie."
Maves has said she wants to focus on making sure DMC money gets spent on the public infrastructure projects that it's meant for. She also said she wants to be more involved in city issues and meet with the Rochester City Council regularly.
Maves said her campaign will continue to focus on meeting with voters face to face and talking about the issues critical to Rochester as she moves toward the general election.
"It's an uphill battle; clearly he got a lot more votes than I did," Maves said. "We're just going to have to work really hard."
She said getting out to talk to people early on and having a visual campaign presence with signs and billboards likely helped her campaign, but she also praised the way Kilen ran for office.
"I thought Stephanie ran a fantastic campaign and did a terrific job," Maves said. "She has a lot to offer this community, and she should be so proud of what she did. They ran a great campaign."
Kilen congratulated Maves and Brede on their victories in an emailed statement after the votes were tallied. She ran, partially, because she wanted to combine development efforts with historic preservation as city planning for the Destination Medical Center happened, she has said.
"I am very grateful for those who supported me today and during this primary campaign," Kilen said. "Please know your time, dollars, and especially your votes are much appreciated."
Kilen did not return calls for comment to the Post-Bulletin on Tuesday night after sending the emailed statement. She posted on her campaign Facebook page: "This campaign has fueled my desire to find new ways to ensure that Rochester's leadership keeps our neighborhoods at the heart of its decision-making and thinks of ALL of us as they make decisions about how the city grows."