Braastad, Schulte upset Anoka County Board incumbents
Two Anoka County Board members lost their seats in Tuesday’s general election.
Longtime Commissioner Dan Erhart, Coon Rapids, who has served on the board for some 30 years, was defeated by Coon Rapids City Council member Scott Schulte in District 7.
Schulte polled 11,264 votes to Erhart’s 10,619, a 51.27 to 48.34 percent margin.
Ham Lake City Councilmember Julie Braastad upset Commissioner Andy Westerberg, Blaine, who was elected two years ago, in District 2.
Braastad polled 12,120 votes to Westerberg’s 11,145, 51.85 percent to 47.68 percent.
Four incumbents were re-elected – Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah and Commissioners Matt Look, Robyn West and Carol LeDoux.
Sivarajah, Lino Lakes, who was first elected in 2002, got 13,177 votes, 63.54 percent, to win the District 6 seat handily over her Linwood Township opponent Kevin Ryan’s 7,473 votes, 36.04 percent in District 6.
Look, Ramsey, won the District 1 seat by a 13,165, 54.88 percent, to 10,753, 44.83 percent, margin over his challenger Allison Lister, Oak Grove, in District 1.
And in District 3, West, Blaine, had 58.18 percent of the vote to 41.35 percent of her opponent Dan Sanders, Blaine, tallying 12,829 to 9,118 votes.
LeDoux, Coon Rapids, had 57.73 percent of the vote in beating Scott Bromley, Coon Rapids, by 13,333 to 9,630 in District 5.
Braastad was serving her second term on the Ham Lake City Council, where a vacancy will be decleared when she resigns her seat at the end of the year.
“I attribute my victory to the hard work by my whole team,” Braastad said.
According to Braastad, two main issues that divided her and Westerberg were expanding Northstar Commuter Rail to St. Cloud, which she opposes, and expanding the runway at the Anoka County Airport, which she also opposes.
The airport issue was huge for people who live in District 2, Braastad said.
Braastad will be a fiscal conservative voice on the county board, she said.
Her desire to become more involved in the community prompted her to apply for and be appointed to a vacancy on the Ham Lake Planning and Zoning Commission, then running for and being elected to the council six years ago.
Braastad has been watching cable television broadcasts of the county board meeting to learn the issues that it has been dealing with, she said.
“I am really excited and looking forward to serving on the county board,” Braastad said.
A lifelong resident of Coon Rapids who owns a 54-year-old family business, Hi-Ten Service Center in the city, Schulte has served on the city council for 12 years.
“I’m a little tired, but feel pretty good and I am excited about serving on the county board,” Schulte said Wednesday morning.
According to Schulte, his campaign concentrated on the two precincts in Andover as well as the portion of Coon Rapids in District 7, while not putting as much effort into the city of Anoka, where Erhart was strong.
As it turned out, Schulte said he won both precincts in Andover as well as the Coon Rapids precincts, but lost all the Anoka precincts by 100-vote margins.
“The focus of my campaign was transparency and integrity and bringing a business sense to the county level,” he said.
As he prepares for the county board, Schulte said he would like to serve on the Public Safety Committee because he has been one of Coon Rapids’ representatives on the Anoka County Joint Law Enforcement Council and would like to continue that.
Six of the seven county board seats were on the ballot this year following redistricting of the boundaries of county commissioner districts that was approved by the county board May 1 following the 2010 U.S. Census.
Only District 4, where County Commissioner Jim Kordiak was re-elected two years ago, was not on the ballot Tuesday,
Kordiak will get to serve out his four-year term until 2014 because the population shift in that district had a gain or loss of less than the 5 percent threshold.
But with redistricting, two of the districts that were up for election this year will be back on the ballot in 2014 with a two-year term, instead of the four-year terms for the other seats. They are districts 5 and 7.
Peter Bodley is at email@example.com