Citizens of Brainerd favored the idea of the city holding a primary election in the future, passing the option with 2,865 voting yes for a primary election against 2,071 no votes.
In a race that this year saw 18 candidates up for four seats, a primary election would help narrow the voting field down beginning the next election year in 2014.
“This year there was an enormous number of votes and it was a good election but in my opinion points out the need for a primary (election),” said current Brainerd City Council President Mary Koep, who was re-elected to an at-large seat Tuesday with 19.84 percent in a field of seven candidates vying for two seats. “As I look at the figures and the folks who didn’t win, you can only wonder if the entire direction of the race would have gone differently if there was a primary.
“I think the future of the elections will be a much more clear cut picture of where (candidates) stand with voters and I think it’s going to be a very good thing.”
Brainerd City Administrator Theresa Goble said that with the primary election now going into effect, candidates will be required to file earlier, moving the filing date up to July and voters will select the candidates to move on to the general election during the primary election.
Council member Dale Parks said he thinks a primary election is going to be best for voters.
“I think it’s going to be a lot easier to have the number of contestants running narrowed down so that when it comes time for the general election, you know who you are voting for,” said Parks, who’s seat on the council will be up in 2014, the first year that the primary will take place. “I think right now votes get so diluted in the general election and of course it may be that way in the primary but I think it is going to be for the best.”