St. Louis Park on Tuesday became the first U.S. city to elect a Somali American mayor.
Nadia Mohamed, 27, a city council member, won by a considerable margin against retired banker Dale A. Anderson in Tuesday’s election, becoming the country’s first elected Somali American mayor as well as the first black mayor of St. Louis Park.
“It’s an important step. It’s not the destination,” said the mayor-elect, thanking her supporters on Tuesday. “As mayor, I want to make sure people see themselves reflected in our policies.”
Supporters clamored for selfies with Mohamed after she declared victory.
Mohamed was elected to an at-large council seat in 2019 at the age of 23, making her the youngest person to serve on the St. Louis Park City Council.
State Rep. Deqa Dhalac of South Portland, Maine, was the first Somali American to become mayor of a US city in 2021, but she was chosen by that city’s six council members rather than elected by voters.
Mohamed campaigned on investing in community policing and programs to make homeownership more affordable. She was supported by Mayor Jake Spano, who did not seek re-election.
“I wanted to be the last in a line of all-white mayors in the city,” Spano said Tuesday night. “She’s surrounded by a wonderful staff…and a community that’s going to support her.”
Mohamed was also endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state Reps. Larry Kraft of St. Louis Park and Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday evening, Mohamed spoke about his mother’s journey to settling in St. Louis Park, giving her the confidence to enter politics at a young age.
“I saw a courageous woman every day going about her business,” Mohamed said. “This courage comes easily to me now.”
In other west metro elections Tuesday, Roslyn Harmon was elected mayor of Golden Valley, narrowly defeating council member Gillian Rosenquist, an attorney. Harmon, executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center in St. Paul, will be the city’s first black mayor.
And in Minnetonka, voters rejected a proposed charter amendment to repeal ranked-choice voting in municipal elections. Nearly 59% of voters rejected the amendment, while 41% voted to approve it.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Hennepin County Prosecutor Mary Moriarty supported Mohamed; Moriarty has not issued an endorsement for the race. The story has also been updated to note that Mohamed and Anderson have both expressed positions against anti-Semitism.