A new mayor will preside over Crookston come January 2019, after only an 11-vote difference in the five-person mayoral race, and he’ll be joined by two new Crookston City Council members plus one that will be changing seats.
Guy Martin, who previously served as a City Council member for 12 years, most recently from 2006 to 2010, and eight years in the late 1980s to early 1990s, was elected with 580 votes, just 11 over Dean Adams, who had 569, and 28 votes over Clayton Briggs, who had 552. Candidates Dale Stainbrook held 437 votes and Dana Johnson had 353, plus there were seven write-ins.
Martin told the Times he's "very excited" to return to City service, and he thanked everyone who cast a ballot for him. "I’m ready to get back to work on the council," he said. "There’s going to be a relearning and a learning curve but I am looking forward to 2019."
Current Mayor Wayne Melbye had previously decided not to run.
City Charter language lets Briggs keep his current spot on the council for Ward 3 and Stainbrook stays for Ward 5.
Current Ward 6 City Council member Tom Vedbraaten picked up the At-Large seat with a 93-vote lead over Trent Brekken. Vedbraaten will replace Bob Quanrud who didn’t run for reelection.
Vedbraaten previously stated that once he saw Cindy Gjerswold submit her bid for the Ward 6 council member spot, and after encouragement from community members, he put his hat in the race for At-Large council member to represent the entire city.
Gjerswold, a longtime business owner, ran unopposed in Ward 6, as did Ward 2’s Steve Erickson, who is the owner of Erickson Embroidery and 2nd Street Boutique in downtown Crookston with his wife Laurie.
Current Crookston Park Board chair Don Cavalier won the bid for the Ward 4 City Council spot over Sharon Lewis by 94 votes. Lewis had previously said that she decided to run primarily because at the time no one had filed from Ward 4 and she feared the ward wouldn’t be represented on the council. Current Ward 4 council member Dennis Regan did not run for a second term.
Three Crookston School Board incumbents, Tim Dufault, Adrianne Winger, and Patty Dillabough, won re-election Tuesday night. They beat out Katya Zepeda, Jim McBride, and Marcia Meine.
Dufault told the Times, “I’m happy that the voters are sending back all three incumbents. It shows that they believe we are moving the school district in the right direction. We have a very good board. Everyone has talents in different areas and we all work well together. I would like to thank Katya, Marcia and Jim for running for the school board. They would also make great board members. It is good to see so much interest from people in the community who are willing to give of their time to help educate our kids.”
In the Polk County sheriff race, longtime PSCO deputy Jim Tadman came out ahead of fellow longtime PCSO deputy Randy Sondrol by 15 percent, and Greg Widseth will maintain his position as the Polk County Attorney after running unopposed.
Polk County Commissioner Warren Strandell of District 2 and East Grand Forks, who ran unopposed, will keep his chair and District 4’s Joan Lee of rural Fosston saved her spot after beating Dennis Boucher.
POLK COUNTY AND STATE VOTER TURNOUT
All in all, Polk County had a good turnout of voters with 11,967 of 16,587 going to the polls. Of the 82 precincts voting, for state and national races, the county voted mostly in favor of Republican candidates. Of the eight state and national races, seven race’s vote majorities went to Republicans.
In District 1B, Representative Deb Kiel (R-Crookston), a local farmer, easily won her race over East Grand Forks DFLer Brent Lindstrom and Collin Peterson (DFL-Detroit Lakes) triumphed over Dave Hughes (R-Karlstad) to keep his spot as the U.S. Rep. for District 7.
According to Secretary of State Steve Simon, who was re-elected after Tuesday’s election, for the 2018 statewide general election, preliminary estimates indicate that at least 2,593,922 voters participated either in-person or by absentee ballot, representing a 63.82 percent participation rate. That is the largest raw total for a midterm election in Minnesota history and the highest percentage of voter participation in the state for a midterm election since 2002.