The 2010 election year saw a Republican resurgence, a spirited rematch in the Crow Wing County sheriff’s race and four-way race for the District 12 Minnesota Senate seat.
The roster of area legislators saw Republicans prevail in most contests. Newcomers Mike LeMieur of Little Falls defeated Rep. Al Doty, DFL-Royalton, and John Carlson of Bemidji defeated Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji. It was LeMieur’s second run against the two-term incumbent and Carlson’s first run for the Legislature.
Former Rep. Paul Gazelka of rural Brainerd won the Republican endorsement as incumbent Sen. Paul Koering struggled to regain his political footing after Koering’s dinner with a gay porn actor drew criticism from Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton. Gazelka defeated Koering in the Republican primary and fought off three candidates to convincingly win the general election. He beat Koering, who ran as an independent; DFLer Taylor Stevenson and Stephen Park, the Constitution Party candidate.
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl won re-election by defeating Eric Klang 14,062-12,083. Four years earlier Dahl unseated then-Sheriff Klang by a 10-vote margin. The contest this year featured substantial advertising and spirited letter writing campaigns on the part of both campaigns.
Two events also kept the sheriff’s race in the news. In September, union representatives of Law Enforcement Labor Services Local 14 announced the results of a no confidence vote taken against Dahl. Seventeen of the 31 members of the bargaining unit voted no confidence in Dahl. Klang didn’t attend the meeting when the vote was taken but Dahl labeled it as politically motivated. A union official denied that charge. In October a three-judge panel dismissed a complaint accusing Dahl of exercising undue influence on a sheriff’s department employee. While dismissing the complaint the panel found Dahl’s behavior and reaction to an employee’s support for Klang “contemptible.”
Cass County elected a new sheriff as Chief Deputy Tom Burch defeated Wayne Tennis, the Walker police chief. A recount set the final margin at 47 votes.
In Brainerd, Mayor James Wallin was elected to his fourth term as mayor. His mayoral service was preceded by 21 years on the city council. The totals were Wallin, 1,459; Guy Green, 1,250; Kevin Stumpf, 846, and Dan Egan, 487.
Winning Brainerd council seats were Ward 2 incumbent Kelly Bevans, Dale Parks in Ward 4, and incumbent at-large member Bonnie Cumberland.
In Baxter, Rob Moser and Jim Klein were re-elected to the council.
The first election for the combined Crow Wing County auditor-treasurer post went to Laureen Borden. Rosemary Franzen won re-election to District 4 on the Crow Wing County Board. Commissioners Paul Thiede and Rachel Reabe Nystrom did not face any challengers in their bids for re-election to the board.