Newcomers take over several council seats

Staff Writer

Tuesday’s election saw the end of several contested races for mayor or council seats across Morrison County. In some, incumbents held onto their seats, while in others political newcomers were elected.

In the three-way race in Little Falls’ Ward 1, Raquel Lundberg, co-owner of the Waller House Inn, won the seat on the Council.

Lundberg had 735 votes compared to incumbent Loren Boyum’s 323 votes and Robin Hensel’s 91 votes.                 Lundberg said she thinks she won because Little Falls wants a newcomer who will do what is best for the city.

“I don’t have an agenda, and I don’t have an axe to grind. I just want what is best for my city and I think people know that,” Lundberg said.

She said something she feels is important is getting Little Falls to working to get the Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail through Little Falls.

Boyum said he was all right with the election results.

“I feel that’s just fine. It’ll work out fine, things will go on, the world will continue and I’m thankful for the seven years of service I was provided,” Boyum said.

He said he’s seen many concerning things happen during his tenure, but he feels Little Falls is still a great community.

Incumbent Gerald Knafla from Ward 2 defeated Cathy VanRisseghem 1,190 to 551. Knafla said he thinks the Council will continue to work together with one another, including the newest addition, Lundberg.

“I think with the addition of Raquel, we’re going to be able to continue to work together in a real cooperative manner and get the things accomplished that we need to accomplish,” Knafla said.

In Motley, Councilman Al Yoder won against Councilwoman Amy Hutchison in a contest for the mayor’s seat, 170-81.

Yoder said having been on the Council will help him understand the issues he’ll be working on as mayor.

“I think I understand the city more. I understand some of the budget stuff that’s going on and some of the problems we’re facing,” Yoder said.

He said the first project he plans to work on is getting sidewalks to a new business that will be opening up in Motley. He said he wants to do this so people can safely get to the store without walking on the highway.

In the race for the two seats on the Motley City Council, Incumbent Steve Johnson and newcomer Nate Douglas were elected with 148 and 114 votes respectively.

Johnson said a priority is to have the Council work together and go with a national consensus to move forward.

“In our case in Motley, it’s to try and get the Council working together as a team and not having a lot of friction that seemed to happen in the past,” Johnson said.

Douglas said he has three things he thinks need to be worked on in Motley:

  • The police need money for a new officer;
  • Dealing with the problem of abandoned homes and get younger people to invest in them; and
  • Finishing a trail project in Motley.

He also said work on the city’s infrastructure had to be done.

“I think it really takes a beating because of the two factories we have,” Douglas said.

He said he needs to get involved in what is currently going on before working on his plans.

Results in other municipal races across the county included:

  • In Pierz, Mayor Toby Egan ran unopposed and won. Kyle Bednar defeated incumbent Councilman Don Bujalski, 383 to 268. David Fischer won the city clerk seat after running unopposed;
  • In Randall, Mayor Bob Riitters lost his position to Councilman Danny Noss, 161 to 155. Councilman Rick Turner won re-election with 190 votes, James Chyba won a seat with 137 votes. Brian Zilka and Andrew Haider received 118 and 57 votes respectively;
  • In Upsala, Mayor Rollie Johnson faced no opposition and won re-election. Councilman Dennis Westrich won re-election with 125 votes. Newcomer Lana Bartells won a seat with 88 votes. Incumbent Councilman Robert Maciej and Mark Gilles received 79 and 76 votes respectively.
  • In Flensburg, John Gessell was re-elected as mayor by write-in with 33 votes. Councilwoman LuAnn Morrow and Kenneth Merten won with 77 and 76 votes respectively.
  • In the Bowlus mayoral race, Joe Larson won by  write-in with 51 votes. Kelly Larson won a council seat by write-in with nine votes and Robert Maciej won the treasurer’s position by write-in with eight votes;
  • In Swanville, Mayor Sandy Lange was re-elected. Councilman Norm Carlson won re-election with 137 votes, while write-in candidates Jesse Hollermann and Debora Wood tied with four votes each. The county is discussing how a winner will be determined with the city;
  • In Hillman, Mayor Norman Iverson, Councilman Bob Billig and City Clerk Dana Iverson all won re-election with 16 votes each, 100 percent of the people in Hillman who voted. Evan Phillips won a Council seat as the lone write-in candidate with 10 votes;
  • In Lastrup, Mayor Kay Hoheisel won re-election as did Councilman Ted Hoheisel after running unopposed. A special election for another Council seat ended in a tie between write-in candidates Frank Athman and Andy Smude with three votes each, the city will choose a winner if a recount doesn’t find a winner. City Treasurer Diane Schmidtz won re-election after running unopposed; and
  • In Royalton, Councilman Ron Verley won re-election and Scott Walberg won a seat on the Council. Both ran unopposed.