Washington County mayors to face stiff challenge in November

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 21, 2012 - 3:51 PM

Many cities will also see contested races for City Council seats. The top two vote-getters in primary races will advance.

Mayors in nine Washington County cities will have plenty of company on the November ballot as several challengers want those jobs.

Some city council members also will have competition to retain their seats. And after Tuesday's primary election, veteran Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek could face a stiff challenge from Ted Bearth for the two-year term in the reconfigured District 2. Bearth captured 56 percent of the votes while incumbent Pulkrabek got 28 percent and finished second. Joseph Delaney finished third in and as a result won't advance to the general election.

In another high-profile Washington County primary race, Tom Corbett and Ted Kozlowski will compete in November for a Ward 2 seat on the Stillwater City Council. The third-place candidate, Cassie McLemore, won't advance.

An interesting race is expected to shape up in tiny Landfall, where six people have filed for the city's top job currently held by Mayor Greg "Flash" Feldbrugge. There hasn't been that much interest in being mayor in more than 12 years, and the six candidates from a city of just 686 people represent the highest number of candidates since 2008. Challenging Feldbrugge will be Bill Dahn, James Dumer, Don Dunn, James Garin and Linda Lee Jacobs.

The campaign will begin as Landfall, a mobile-home city nestled between Oakdale and Maplewood on the south end of Tanners Lake, reels from the fallout after its City Council fired the city manager and issued a 90-day notice to the city attorney that it plans to terminate his contract.

Cottage Grove, population 35,000, is another city that saw a high number of citizens file for office. Incumbent mayor Myron Bailey will be challenged by Chad Magle, Chad Rediske and Lezlie Schriver. And six people filed for two seats on the City Council, but incumbent Derrick Lehrke is not one of them. He is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 54A.

This will be the first major election since the city built a $15 million City Hall and public safety building without holding a referendum. The controversial project created a rift on the City Council and among residents, some of whom called for a local charter commission with the power to recall elected officials.

Mayors in Birchwood Village, Forest Lake, Grant, Lake Elmo, Lakeland, Newport, Oakdale and Oak Park Heights also will face competition.

In Forest Lake, Chris Johnson, who was elected in 2010 to serve a two-year term, will face Bruce Anderson and Brian Hile. Jim Dufour and Ed Eigner will run unopposed for the two open City Council seats.

Voters in Grant will choose between incumbent mayor Tom Carr or Larry Lanoux, a member of the city's Planning Commission and opponent of the Mahtomedi School District's plan to build the new Wildwood Elementary School near an old garbage dump in Grant. Five people filed for two seats on the City Council.

Debate over the planned Hwy. 36 bridge over the St. Croix River might play into the race for mayor in Oak Park Heights. Longtime mayor David Beaudet, who has opposed the $580 to $676 million project, will face off against Mary McComber, a council member who is in favor of the bridge.

Mayor Dean Johnston, who led Lake Elmo's effort to withdraw from the county library system and start its own city library, has two challengers: Nicholas Duffy and Mike Pearson. Three people filed for two City Council vacancies.

Newport has three candidates for mayor. Steven Gallagher, incumbent Tim Geraghty and Paul Hansen will square off, while four people will vie for two seats on the Newport City Council.

There will be a new mayor in Lakeland. Incumbent Brian Zeller is not running. City Council members Richard Glasgo and Robert Livingston will vie for Zeller's job. Jim Space, who is a defendant in civil and criminal cases brought against him by the city over zoning issues, is also on the ballot.

Birchwood Village also will have a new mayor. Council Member Jane Harper will square off with Mary Wingfield in a battle to replace Alan Mitchell, who is not seeking re-election.

While filings closed Tuesday, Lake St. Croix Beach was still looking for another person to fill a City Council seat. Two seats are up for election in November, but Jim Unker was the only person who had filed.

Tim Harlow • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @timstrib

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