W. There was early optimism in Crow Wing County for quick election returns.
Election Central at The Dispatch received its first phone call regarding election returns at 8:12 p.m. The caller was inquiring about the race between Sen. Don Samuelson, DFL-Brainerd, and challenger Paul Koering. Would you believe the final tally from the county came about eight hours later? -- Kathi Nagorski
Colleen Johnston was greeted with a fresh coating of snow as she carried out two of the four boxes of ballots from the Kennedy Precinct at the Oak Baptist Church on Wise Road after the polls closed.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday turnout in Crow Wing County showed signs of being strong. The Riverside Elementary School voting precinct, Ward 2 Precinct 1, had already seen about 50 percent of its registered voters by about 3:30 p.m. -- Mike O'Rourke
Ironton was the first precinct to be reported by the Crow Wing County Auditor's office at about 8:50 p.m. Center Township was the last at about 4 a.m. -- Renee Richardson
Watching the presidential race, Glen Nygard, Baxter City Council candidate, remarked that polls should open and close at the same time across the country rather than based on time zone so the media projections don't affect the outcome of a race. A notable example occurred when CNN predicted early that Gore was the winner in Florida, despite the race still being too close to call. -- Matt Erickson
Kennedy Precinct election judges Rosella Kinder-Hanson (left), Yvonne Leiser and Cindy Sykes placed ballots in boxes after removing them from the tablulator at the courthouse. (Dispatch Photos by Clint Wood)
Just after the polls closed with exit poll predictions rampant on network and cable news, Baxter mayoral candidate Gary Walters was ready to make a prediction in his own race. "I predict someone named Gary will win." And later in the evening when the Kids Vote had Walters winning the mayoral race while he lost the general election, he said: "Obviously kids know more than adults do." -- Renee Richardson
After the first precinct reported in, the race for the two Brainerd City Council at-large seats was close: Goedker 217, Nesheim 273, Olson 203, Taylor 233. -- Matt Erickson
Ross Lake Township head election judge Judy Topp (left) and township clerk Joyce Neumann patiently waited for their ballots to be counted at the Crow Wing County Courthouse early this morning. The pair arrived at the courthouse at 10 p.m. Tuesday night and did not have their votes tablulated until 2 a.m.
Dewayne "Dewey" Tautges, candidate for Crow Wing County District 1, was excited while watching the votes tally in his favor at the courthouse. At the time he was in the lead with 400 votes to incumbent Jim Hill's 68 votes. -- Jennifer Stockinger
At least a few staffers at the Crow Wing County Courthouse were hoping for one thing Tuesday night -- no close races that would mean the extra effort involved in a recount. Election judges reported good voter turnout and a good number of people registering to vote at the polls. -- Renee Richardson
Manhattan Beach election judges reported good turnout as 52 of 62 registered voters cast their ballots Tuesday and three people registered at the polling site. -- Renee Richardson
"You know what is seriously lacking in all campaigns -- we need more humor," said Gary Walters, Baxter mayoral candidate. -- Renee Richardson
While the national outcome of the presidential race may not be known for days, Crow Wing County was carried by George W. Bush. He picked up 15,035 votes to Al Gore's 11,255 while 1,314 voted for Ralph Nader.
The county went for Bill Clinton four years ago. -- Roy Miller
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