Mary Koep is returning to the Brainerd City Council.
Incumbent Bob Olson and Koep were the top two vote-getters in the six-person field for the two Brainerd City Council at-large seats up for election Tuesday.
Olson received 2,187 votes, or 23.81 percent, and Koep received 2,062 votes, or 22.45 percent. Incumbent Mark O'Day received 1,945 votes, David Colvin received 1,181 votes, Wayne Durant received 1,020 votes and Steve Wolff received 721 votes.
Koep, who watched election results at the Dispatch, was emotional when she learned she was returning to the council following a two-year absence.
"I went into it thinking, 'Well, I don't know if people wanted me back or not,'" Koep said. "I wanted to do this, I missed it so much. It's something I wanted to do so I did it."
Koep previously served on the council from 1970 to 1980, the Crow Wing County Board from 1980 to 1996 and the city council from 2002 to 2006.
She said she worked hard at her campaign and took nothing for granted. She said she was humbled in the receiving the public's vote.
Olson, who was first elected to an at-large seat in 2000, said he appreciated and thanked Brainerd residents for their confidence in him.
"I will continue to always put our citizens first," Olson said. "These are difficult economic times for many of our citizens and we elected officials must be very cautious in how we spend their tax dollars. That hasn't always been the case in the past."
In a close Ward 1 Brainerd City Council race, incumbent Lucy Nesheim held on to her council seat by beating challenger Ed Shaw 717 to 686.
Nesheim was first elected to the city council in 1988.
"I'm humbled and pleased that I have been re-elected," Nesheim said. "I want to thank the voters and I will work very hard to help make Brainerd a better place."
Nesheim said the work of the council will be difficult with the current troubled economic times but the council would work hard to take care of the city.
In Ward 3 in northeast Brainerd, incumbent Kevin Goedker received 697 votes to beat challengers Barb Egan, who had 497 votes, and Howard Brewer, who had 150 votes.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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