Incumbents carried the day in municipal elections in Minnetonka and Hopkins, but in other cities turnover marked races for councils and school boards.
Longtime mayors Terry Schneider of Minnetonka and Gene Maxwell of Hopkins easily won re-election, as did incumbent council members in their cities. But in St. Louis Park, council veteran Sue Santa lost to Gregg Lindberg, who has a history of activity in city affairs.
In Bloomington, big changes are coming for the City Council, where four of the seven members will be new in 2014. Three incumbents who together had more than 40 years of experience did not seek re-election, and a fourth member, Thomas Hulting, lost to challenger Andrew Carlson. Jack Baloga, the only other incumbent who ran for re-election, held onto his seat.
Newcomers Cynthia Bemis Abrams and Jon Oleson also won seats on the Bloomington council. A fifth council race, in District 1, was so tight that there will be a recount. With almost 3,100 votes cast, Dwayne Lowman led Richard Bohnen by two votes.
Although council seats are nonpartisan, candidates in four Bloomington races had support of the local Tea Party. None of those candidates were elected, though Bohnen could be if he wins a recount for the District 1 seat.
Golden Valley also will see change on its council. Steven Schmidgall kept his seat, while newcomers Andy Snope and Larry Fonnest will take seats vacated by veterans.
In Hopkins, where seven people competed for three school board seats, Betsy Scheuer Anderson and Warren Goodroad won re-election. Michael Doobie Kurus also was a winner. Three other candidates — who live in or are connected to an area of Edina where some residents have been trying to leave the Hopkins School District — finished at the bottom of the ballot.
Some Hopkins parents had worried that the three were more interested in helping out that Edina neighborhood than in helping Hopkins schools.
In Bloomington, voters kicked all three incumbents off the school board, including Arlene Bush, who was there for 32 years. Richfield also ousted three school board incumbents.
Eight west metro school districts had referendums. Improving security and technology and adding capital projects were a common theme. Voters in Bloomington, Hopkins, Orono, Osseo, Richfield and St. Louis Park approved their levy requests. Results were incomplete in the Eastern Carver County district.
In Eden Prairie, district voters renewed a levy for technology and capital improvements but voted down a request to replace an existing operating levy with a more expensive one. That new levy would have raised taxes on a median-price home by $379 a year.
Average tax increases on median-price homes linked to referendums in other school districts ranged from a $25 annual hike in Bloomington after the first four years to $382 a year in Osseo.