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Park Rapids, Menahga and Nevis elect new city councilors

Incumbent Erika Randall lost her bid for re-election in a close, three-way race for two seats on the Park Rapids City Council. In Nevis, recently appointed council member Ryan Mathisrud lost to Blair Reuther and John Carrier. Menahga voters elected two new candidates for two open seats.

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Menahga election judges reported a great turnout at city hall on Election Day 2022.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise
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Incumbent Erika Randall lost her bid for re-election in a close, three-way race for two seats on the Park Rapids City Council.

In Nevis, recently appointed council member Ryan Mathisrud lost to Blair Reuther and John Carrier.

Menahga voters elected two new candidates for two open seats.

Vote totals, based on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, are unofficial pending certification of election results.

Park Rapids City Council

There was a three-way race for two seats on the Park Rapids City Council with current council member Tom Conway stepping down.

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Incumbent Randall was defeated, receiving 700 votes, while Timothy Little received 758 and Joe Christensen received 907. There were also 7 write-ins.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it would turn out the way that it did,” said Christensen. “I’m just happy that it did.”

However, Christensen added, “I think the city’s been doing a really good job, and we just want to keep it running that way. Out of all three people that were running, there’s not a bad name on the ballot.”

Both Christensen and Little thanked the voters, with Little adding, “I’m going to be very happy to serve the City of Park Rapids.”

Randall wished the winners the best in their new roles as council members.

“While it was not the outcome I was hoping for, I am thankful to the residents of Park Rapids for allowing me to serve on the Park Rapids City Council for nearly 10 years,” she said. “I have enjoyed my time as a council member and feel that I contributed to making the city better for the residents and the city employees.”

Park Rapids Mayor Ryan Leckner ran for re-election unopposed, receiving 1,322 votes vs. 20 write-ins.

Nevis City Council

In Nevis, a three-way race for two city council seats, Mathisrud lost his seat with 76 votes compared to incumbent Reuther’s 94 votes, Carrier’s 85 votes and 5 write-ins.

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“I’m very happy that the people picked me,” said Carrier. “I’m going to try to do the best for the people and for the businesses of Nevis.”

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Nevis city and township voters cast their ballots Tuesday at Nevis City Hall.
Robin Fish / Enterprise

Mathisrud voiced appreciation for the voters and election workers who put together a successful local election, and congratulated the winning candidates.

“Local government is more important than most of us realize,” he said. “It affects all of us the closest in our day-to-day lives. In my view, if done well, it can strengthen and make our communities better places to live and call home. I look forward to continuing to serve the community as a first responder and in other ways as needed.”

Nevis Mayor Jeanne Thompson was re-elected without opposition with 144 votes vs. 6 write-ins.

Menahga City Council

Seats on the Menahga City Council held by Robyn Keranen and the late Art Huebner were up for election this year, with a four-year term. Jody Bjornson and Mike Netland were elected with 404 and 336 votes respectively. Huebner also received 94 posthumous votes, and there were 9 write-ins.
Bjornson, who won a coin toss in mid-October to temporarily fill Huebner's vacancy, said, “Proud to serve my community again. Thanks to everyone that gave me their vote. Looking forward to providing a more peaceful approach to my city’s issues.”
Incumbent Liz Olson was elected to another two-year term as mayor with 329 votes, while challenger Karen Candelaria received 213 votes. There were also 4 write-ins.
Olson thanked voters, saying “I’m committed to continuing the work that the city council began in providing financial and staffing stability for the city. This is the only way Menahga will be able to improve its S&P rating, which also includes a healthy fund balance, as recommended by the state of Minnesota. My commitment to bring economic development to the city of Menahga continues. I am looking forward to working with the newly elected council.”

Laporte City Council

In Laporte, Carolyn Hemphill received 27 votes and Tim Formo 36 votes in a race for two seats on the city council, with 1 write-in. Meanwhile, Audrey Johnson took 35 votes in a special election to fill a vacancy expiring Jan. 6, 2025. There were also 2 write-ins.

Running unopposed, Kimberly Himmelright was elected as mayor of Laporte with 40 votes vs. 1 write-in.

Akeley City Council

There was a race for three available seats on the Akeley City Council. Incumbent Billy Krotzer won re-election with 110 votes and Dan Riggs received 105, while there were 16 write-ins.

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According to Hubbard County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Rave, the write-in candidate with the most votes wins the position – in this case, Dale Nelson with 4 votes.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
Menahga's city engineer put a project out to bid this week without city council authorization, according to public works supervisor Ron Yliniemi.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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