ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Interim Rochester City Council President Randy Staver came away with 48.36 percent of the vote in his bid to win the job for good for the next four years, but fellow Council Member Michael Wojcik mounted a late surge among absentee ballots and has forced a run-off election on May 7.
Staver flirted with amassing enough votes to win the position outright, but in the end, Wojcik polled just well enough to prolong the campaign and make it a two-man race.
"It's just like our winter," joked Mayor Ardell Brede at one point. "This just won't end!"
The final vote tally shows Staver ending with 3,456 votes, with is 48.36 percent of the total cast. Wojcik finished second with 2,193 votes, or 30.69 percent. Jan Throndson ended third with 1,126 votes and lawyer Jeff Thompson trailed the field with 370 votes.
Staver had been leading with 54 percent of the vote when election officials began wading through the absentee ballots; Wojcik came away with a good share of the absentees to significantly narrow the margin and drop it below the magic 50 percent mark. Mayor Brede, on hand to watch the process, told the NewsCenter just before 10 p.m. that the remaining ballots were being examined one-by-one, to make sure people had not voted twice.
Olmsted County election supervisor Pam Fuller said there were no irregularities in the voting. A total of 7,145 votes were cast.
Staver was hosting a victory party with his supporters at the Eagles Club in southeast Rochester. Wojcik watched the votes come in at the Wildwood in southwest Rochester.
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