Chris Coleman (politician)

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Chris Coleman
54th Mayor of Saint Paul
In office
January 3, 2006 – January 2, 2018
Preceded byRandy Kelly
Succeeded byMelvin Carter
Member of the Saint Paul City Council for Ward 2
In office
1997 – January 2003
Personal details
Born (1961-09-01) September 1, 1961 (age 58)
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Connie Coleman
EducationUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities (BA, JD)

Christopher B. "Chris" Coleman (born September 1, 1961) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 54th Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota between 2006 and 2018. He defeated incumbent mayor Randy Kelly in 2005 and took office on January 3, 2006. He was later succeeded by city councilman Melvin Carter on January 2, 2018

Family and early career[edit]

Chris Coleman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as the son of Bridget Finnegan and Nicholas Coleman, Sr., who served as State Senate majority leader from 1973 to 1981. Coleman attended Cretin High School in St. Paul. His brother Nick Coleman was a columnist and reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press , and their stepmother, Deborah Howell, was an editor for the Minneapolis Star and the St. Paul Pioneer Press and an ombudsman for The Washington Post.[1] He is of no relation to former mayor and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman.

Coleman attended the University of Minnesota as both an undergraduate and law student. He then worked for eight years in Hennepin County as a public defender and prosecutor.[2] Proposals to build a metal shredder along the Mississippi River in Saint Paul inspired his first run for the Saint Paul City Council.[3] Coleman represented Saint Paul's Ward 2 from 1997 to 2003.[2] While on the city council he was also an investment management consultant specializing in nonprofit organizations and endowments for RBC Dain Rauscher.[4] He was also president of United Family Practice Medical Center.[2]

Coleman unsuccessfully sought the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) nomination for the United States House of Representatives seat in Minnesota's 4th congressional district in 2000.[5] Betty McCollum won both the nomination and the seat.


Coleman ran in the 2005 St. Paul mayoral election, challenging the DFL incumbent, Randy Kelly. Kelly had alienated supporters with his endorsement of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election,[6] and national Democratic figures endorsed Coleman. Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and Bill Richardson visited St. Paul to campaign for Coleman, while Hillary Clinton and John Edwards actively supported him.[7][8] Coleman defeated Kelly in the general election, 69% to 31%.[9]

Shortly after taking office, Coleman signed a city ordinance banning tobacco smoking in all bars and restaurants within city limits.[10][11] The ban had long been opposed by former mayor Kelly.[12]

Coleman is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[13] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Coleman worked with then Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak in bids to host a national party convention. St. Paul was selected as the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention.[14][15]

In 2009, Coleman was elected to a second term. He again received 69% of the general election vote, while his Republican opponent, Eva Ng, received 31%.[16] Coleman successfully sought a third term in 2013, defeating three challengers with 78% of the vote.[17]

Coleman also served as President of the National League of Cities until his term expired at the end of 2014.[18]

Coleman declined to run for a fourth term as mayor.[19]

2010 Governor's Race[edit]

In 2009, Coleman contemplated a bid for the DFL nomination for Governor of Minnesota in the 2010 election but withdrew from the race before formally announcing a bid.[20]

2018 Governor's Race[edit]

On December 13, 2016, Coleman announced his candidacy for Governor of Minnesota in the 2018 election, which he later withdrew.[21]

In June, 2018, he became the president and CEO of the Twin Cities chapter of Habitat for Humanity.


  1. ^ Miller, Pamela; Tuss, Vince (January 2, 2010). "Deborah Howell, prominent editor, killed in car crash". StarTribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Chris Coleman for Saint Paul: About Chris". Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  3. ^ St. Paul Mayor Coleman Born Into Politics, August 30, 2008, WCCO-TV Archived May 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Smith, Mary Lynn (November 21, 2002). "St. Paul's Chris Coleman won't run again". StarTribune. Minneapolis. pp. B9.
  5. ^ Brown, Curt (February 5, 2000). "DFLers race to succeed Vento". StarTribune. Minneapolis. pp. B1.
  6. ^ Radio, Minnesota Public. "MPR: Is Randy Kelly really a Democrat?".
  7. ^ Slevin, Peter; Cillizza, Chris (November 6, 2005). "A Bush Democrat May Lose His Way". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  8. ^ Kerry stumps for St. Paul mayoral candidate Chris Coleman, Oct 10, 2005, Minnesota Public Radio
  9. ^ "Minnesota Secretary of State Unofficial Results for City of Saint Paul-140". Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Crosby, Jackie (January 12, 2006). "St. Paul passes smoking ban". StarTribune. Minneapolis. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  11. ^ Radio, Minnesota Public. "MPR: St. Paul set to impose smoking ban".
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved March 17, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on March 27, 2008. Retrieved on June 19, 2007
  14. ^ Hotakainen, Rob; Diez, Kevin (September 28, 2006). "GOP picks Twin Cities". StarTribune. Minneapolis. pp. A1.
  15. ^ Medcalf, Myron P. (December 17, 2006). "Smooth start for Coleman, but some not satisfied". StarTribune. Minneapolis. pp. B1.
  16. ^ "Minnesota Secretary of State Unofficial Results for City of Saint Paul-140". Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  17. ^ Helal, Liala. "St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman wins another term".
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 14, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Condon, Patrick (December 13, 2016). "Next governor's race gets another candidate: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved December 13, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Randy Kelly
Mayor of Saint Paul
Succeeded by
Melvin Carter