Two west-metro suburbs elected new mayors by landslides, while some other incumbents kept their seats in less comfortable fashion. But on the whole, suburban voters opted to stick with familiar faces in mayoral and City Council races — except in Lino Lakes, where voters replaced two council members after a controversy over the city’s fire district.
In Hopkins and St. Louis Park, voters elevated council members to the mayor’s offices by overwhelming margins. Molly Cummings is the new mayor of Hopkins, winning with more than 80 percent of the vote. Jake Spano ran up a similar margin in St. Louis Park, with 78 percent.
Hopkins Council Members Jason Gadd and Aaron Kuznia both won re-election easily, and Katy Campbell was elected to Cummings’ vacant council seat. Thom Miller took 55 percent of the vote to win Spano’s vacant council seat in St. Louis Park.
In Bloomington, Mayor Gene Winstead won a fifth four-year term, beating Jim Mead with 65 percent of the vote. Council Member Tim Busse took 66 percent of the vote against Kevin Heinen for a citywide at-large seat. Council Members Andrew Carlson and Dwayne Lowman both comfortably won re-election in their districts.
Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris won 52 percent of the vote to defeat Martha “Marti” Micks, a former council member. A survey of top city government officials this summer revealed deep dissatisfaction with the mayor and the council, but Council Members Joanie Clausen and Steve Schmidgall also won re-election, with Carol Barry finishing a close third.
Lino Lakes voters turned two council members out of office, but the incumbent mayor beat a determined opponent. Challengers Melissa Maher and Michael Manthey won the two council seats up for grabs, beating incumbents Dave Roeser and Dale Stoesz. Mayor Jeff Reinert won his fourth term, beating challenger Michael Mooney with 54 percent of the vote.
Reinert led a controversial move to pull the city out of the Centennial Fire District and start its own. Disagreeing with that decision, Mooney and the two council challengers banded together under the banner “Leadership for Lino Lakes” to try to oust the incumbents.
The cities with the tightest races also had the highest turnout. In Lino Lakes, more than 31 percent of registered voters cast a ballot; in Golden Valley, about 27 percent voted. About 15 percent cast ballots in St. Louis Park and Bloomington, while Hopkins trailed the field, with only about 11 percent of its voters showing up.