Newcomer wins South St. Paul mayor race

Jimmy Francis

Joe Forester

Lori Hansen

Bill Flatley

SSP School Board

The South St. Paul School Board will have a few new faces beginning January 2017. 

Patricia Bjorklund, Nikki Laliberte and Jeff McClellan will sit on the board next year, while incumbent Sarah Winslow Brewer lost her re-election bid.

Below are the results in the school board race.

Candidate - Total - Percentage

Heidi Satre - 1,663 - 9.16

Janet White - 2,291 - 12.62

Jeff McClellan - 2,386 - 13.14

Patricia Bjorklund - 3,369 - 18.55

Joseph Gullerud - 1,580 - 8.70

Kathy Shank Delsing - 1,451 - 7.99

Nikki Laliberte - 3,232 - 17.80

Sarah Winslow Brewer - 2.079 - 11.45

Results for South St. Paul 

As of election morning there were 11,733 registered voters.


Candidate - totals - percentage

Tom Seaberg - 3,621 - 39.54

Jimmy Francis - 5,492 - 59.98


Council member

Candidate - Total - percentage

Bill Flatley - 3,756 - 18.87

Joe Forester - 3,657 - 18.38

Steven Budke - 1,675 - 8.42

Max Wallin - 2,942 - 14.78

Lori Hansen - 5,572 - 28

Warren Claflin - 1,987 - 9.98

In the battle for the open South St. Paul mayor race, a newcomer to city politics won. Jimmy Francis received roughly 60 percent of the votes against his opponent Tom Seaberg.

Seaberg is a current council member who will hold onto his council seat as he was not up for reelection.

Francis, 41, said he didn’t hear he won until the morning after the election.

“I went to bed not knowing and woke up today with excitement, Francis said.

This was the first time Francis has run for any city council spot. He said throughout this process he learned elected officials have a tough job. He added that getting this position he knows it’s not going to be an easy road.

“The realization of that was revealing to me. They do a lot of work,” Francis said.

Current and outgoing Mayor Beth Baumann has done a great job serving and has been a cheerleader for South St. Paul, Francis said.

Francis said he hopes to follow this cheerleader role.

He added that the realization of his campaign is that it’s tough to run and also tough to win.

“Once you win, it doesn’t stop being tough. There’s a lot of tough things that have to happen,” Francis said.

Francis said he is hopeful to meet with Baumann to learn from her insights. He also hopes to meet with all the current council members and learn from them.

“I want to meet with all the players so to speak and listen to their advice because they’ve been in it a long time,” Francis said adding them may see things he doesn’t see.

Francis said he is appreciative of not only the votes but the support he received while out door knocking.

“That groundswell of support just continued from my filling day till yesterday,
 Francis said.

The day after the election, Francis said his Facebook, email and texts were in the hundreds of congratulations.

He said is also appreciative of the support from his family and campaign staff.

Council incumbents Lori Hansen and Bill Flatley held onto their seats with roughly 28 percent and 19 percent of the votes respectively.

The third seat will be filled by Joe Forester who beat out the other candidates with roughly 18 percent of the votes.

Forester, 59, said he was happy when he found out he won the seat.

“I was glad people put their trust in me to represent them,” Forester said.

Forester said he plans on meeting with outgoing councilmember Dan Niederkorn to come up to speed on what’s been going on. He also plans on meeting with other council member so he can “immerse himself in as soon as he can and hit the ground running in January.”

Forester said he met a tremendous amount of people in South St. Paul during his campaign. He said he received support from people he never met before that put their trust him in.

Forester said he also received tremendous support from his family.

“I’m humbled about the opportunity to serve the people of South St. Paul. I hope I can live up to their expectations,” Forester said.

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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