On paper, it was a six-way skirmish for a vacant seat on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
The reality was less dramatic, as candidates Stan Karwoski and Cheryl Anderson easily captured the first and second-highest vote tallies in a special election Tuesday that ran concurrently with the state primary.
As the top two, they earned a place on a special election ballot in November. They’ll run against each other for the District 2 seat, which became open following the death of County Commissioner Ted Bearth in March.
With all precincts reporting, Karwoski had 864 votes, or 46 percent. Anderson had 503 votes, or 27 percent.
Other candidates’ vote tallies include: Jeremy Olson of Woodbury (217 votes, or 12 percent); Joseph T. Delaney of Oakdale (143 votes, or 8 percent); Edward Byrne of Oakdale (74 votes, or 4 percent); and John W. McPhillips of Oakdale (60 votes, or 3 percent).
“It’s an honor to win the primary,” said Karwoski, who is the mayor of Oakdale and served on Oakdale city council for 12 years. “Now the work continues. I think I am a candidate equipped and prepared and committed to hit the ground running...I’m not taking any vote for granted.”
At the Guardian Angels Church, the polling place for Oakdale Precinct 8 sisters Dorothy Leonard and Helen Arneson of Oakdale cast their votes for Karwoski.
“I voted for him because I’ve seen him in action at the transport meeting,” she said, referring to a contentious public meeting last year held at Oak Meadows Senior Living to discuss a proposed Gold Line rapid bus transit that could run through Oakdale.
“The crowd was very unruly but he had the wherewithal to get the crowd to settle them down.”
Anderson, of Birchwood, is a licensed social worker with over 30 years experience working with individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities or mental illness. She is administrator/owner of Social Service Solutions in Roseville.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m very excited that voters put me in second place. And honored.
My passion basically goes in line with the people in District 2. I know that on the campaign trail people have talked to me a lot about transportation and they’ve talked to me a lot about keeping the taxes down.”
Because the District 2 term is still active, the candidate elected to the District 2 seat would be sworn in after the November election, most likely just before Thanksgiving,
The other candidates included Edward Byrne and John W. McPhillips, both of Oakdale.
The Second District includes Birchwood, Pine Springs, Willernie, the portion of White Bear Lake that is within Washington County (Ward 4, Precinct 2), Landfall, Precinct 2 of Mahtomedi, Oakdale, and Woodbury Precincts 1, 2, and 7.
The general election in 2016 will occur Nov. 8. The winner of the special election has the ability to be sworn into office once the canvass board has met and the election is certified in mid-November.
The addition of a special election means that four seats on the Washington County Board of Commissioners are open for election this fall. Terms held by District 1 Commissioner Fran Miron, District 3 Commissioner Gary Kriesel and District 5 Commissioner Lisa Weik all expire in December.
There are primary contests in the 4th Congressional District. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul faces Democratic challenger Steve Carlson of St. Paul. Three Republicans will be on the primary ballot: Greg Ryan of Roseville, Gene Rechtzigel of Newport, and Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey of Woodbury. Maplewood resident Susan Pendergast Sindt filed as the Legal Marijuana Now candidate.
As anticipated, polling places in Woodbury reported low turnout.
By 6 p.m., judges at the Woodbury high school polling location about 80 ballots. Across town, judges at a polling location at King of King's Lutheran Church noted a little more than 100 voters turned out.
Despite the low turnout, residents like Marcia and Pete Sadowski, said coming out was still important even though they didn't have strong feelings toward any of the candidates on the ballot.
“We have a rule in our house: if you don't vote, you don't get to complain,” Marcia Sadowski said.
Mathias Baden and Youssef Rddad contributed to this report.