Historic school recount in Chaska

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2010 - 8:11 PM

It's set for Monday in the Chaska-area school district after a narrow win by a school board candidate who didn't even campaign.

It's not just the governor's race that will go into a recount and make history.

For the first time that officials can recall in the Eastern Carver County School District, a recount will take place Monday after a narrow win by a school board candidate who never campaigned.

Tim Klein of Chanhassen won the last of four open four-year spots on the school board in the Nov. 2 election. He got 164 more votes than candidate Bryan Litsey, who finished fifth of 11 candidates. The difference between them was less than one half of one percent of total votes cast, entitling Litsey to request and get a recount.

"I said ... 'Who is Tim Klein?' I knew every other candidate," said Litsey, a Chanhassen city council member and chief of South Lake Minnetonka Police. "It's kind of puzzling."

Litsey, whose son is a second-grader in the district, attended a candidate forum, campaigned door-to-door, distributed about 100 signs, participated in newspaper voter guides, bought advertising and launched a website.

Klein did none of that -- something Litsey said he thinks was apathetic and disingenuous to voters. "I strongly believe that if you're a candidate running for public office, you need to fully participate in the process."

Klein said he didn't campaign because he was starting a new job and didn't expect to win. "I sort of got intimidated by the campaign process," he said.

The father of five children, ages four to 15, has lived in Chanhassen for nearly 20 years and works for an investment bank. He said he's coached soccer and hockey club teams for eight years.

Litsey said he thinks Klein won due to having a familiar name in the district, which includes the cities of Chaska, Victoria, East Union and much of Chanhassen.

Klein said, "People who voted for me voted for me because of my involvement in the community. I wasn't expecting to win, but now that I have I will contribute what I can."

Klein received 4,470 votes while Litsey received 4,306 votes. There were 20,121 votes cast by voters who could choose up to four candidates from those vying for four-year terms on the seven-member board.

The recount will be conducted by Carver County and paid for by the school district. District spokeswoman Nancy Kracke said it's estimated to cost about $2,000.

If the recount doesn't change the results, Litsey said he'll be supportive of Klein. "I truly wish him success and hopes he serves the district well."

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

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