Schulte unseats Erhart in Anoka County race

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY
  • Star Tribune
  • November 7, 2012 - 11:25 AM

While voters elected four women to Anoka County's seven-member board for the first time, Scott Schulte may have won the biggest race of all Tuesday, unseating incumbent Dan Erhart, a county commissioner since 1983.

"It's exciting," said Schulte, a Coon Rapids City Council member.

"We knew it was going to be a tight race. I'm very grateful to Dan Erhart -- not only for his 30 years of service but for a very hard-fought campaign which was clean and above board on both sides."

Another challenger, Ham Lake Council Member Julie Braastad, defeated incumbent Commissioner Andy Westerberg. Braastad's victory was something of a shock. Westerberg was elected to the board only two years ago, but was well-known after serving four terms in the Legislature.

Rhonda Sivarajah and Robyn West, the board chairwoman and vice chairwoman, respectively, won re-election handily. Two other incumbents, Matt Look and Carol LeDoux, also won big. Look defeated newcomer Allison Lister and LeDoux beat Scott Bromley.

In Lister, Look was facing a 21-year Air Force veteran who had served as director of Anoka County Veterans Services. Lister resigned that post this year, but not before chastising the county commissioners for a lack of leadership.

In Sherburne County, former longtime Anoka County Sheriff Bruce Anderson unseated board chair Larry Farber with nearly 64 percent of the vote.

Changes in the city of Ramsey

While Look survived, some of his former colleagues on the Ramsey City Council did not.

Mayor Bob Ramsey was defeated by Sarah Strommen, a City Council member who challenged others on the council over millions of dollars spent on city-financed development deals. Another council member, Colin McGlone, was defeated by Mark Kuzma. Chris Riley and John LeTourneau are the other newcomers to the board.

"Ramsey is a great place," Strommen said after her election. "I'm really honored by the confidence the voters have put in me. I think it shows that Ramsey is looking to make a fresh start. I think there's a very positive future out there."

Despite two years of discord stemming from the city's water and sewer project, East Bethel Mayor Richard Lawrence held on to his post, surviving a challenge from Tanner Balfany. Tom Ronning and Ron Koller took the two vacant City Council seats.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

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