Paynesville supervisor Johnnie Olson lost 66 to 52 to write-in candidate John Atwood. Olson, the current chairman, had served on the township board since 1988. "It was an honor to serve," Olson said of his time on the board. "I appreciate the confidence the people had in me."
Olson also served on township association boards on both the county and state level. He was the vice chairman of the Stearns County board and the treasurer for the Minnesota Association of Townships board. Both of these boards require its members to be a supervisor in a township, so with his loss, Olson will have to resign each post.
Atwood, who served as a supervisor previously in Paynesville Township until he was defeated two years ago, said he did not solicit any votes. Atwood said he will accept the position since the public elected him. "I did nothing unethical," Atwood said. "This was not something I planned."
"I did not file, and I did not ask to serve," Atwood told the audience at the annual meeting of Paynesville Township, also on Tuesday night. Atwood said he did not organize the write-in campaign but did say he would serve if elected.
"I feel bad about this in a way," Atwood added at the meeting, saying he was a friend of Olson's. The two previously served together on the township board.
At the end of the annual meeting in Paynesville Township, after the vote had been announced, township resident Paul Bugbee thanked Olson for his service to the township through the board. "You've been instrumental in helping this township move ahead," Bugbee said, "and I commend you."
In both Eden Lake and Lake Henry townships, the incumbent supervisors did not file for another term, opening the door for newcomers on both boards. Ralph Hennen was elected to the board in Eden Lake Township, and Matt Hemmesch to the board in Lake Henry Township.
In two contested supervisor elections, the incumbents were reelected handily. In Irving Township, incumbent Harlow Olson beat his challenger, Wayne Odell, 63-8.
Munson Township had the largest voter turnout in the area, evidently drawn by the contested supervisor seat between incumbent Daniel Holthaus and his challenger, Kay Cook. Holthaus received 248 votes, as 330 people cast ballots in Munson Township. Cook got 82 votes.
In Lake Henry Township, aside from the clerk and supervisor election, voters were asked to decide if the township should be a separate governing unit from the city of Lake Henry. The vote to separate the governing of the two units was approved 34 to 3.
The election results in area townships were as follows. Supervisors serve three-year terms and clerks for two.
Eden Lake Township:
A total of 112 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Anne Meyer was reelected with 106 votes. Newcomer Ralph Hennen received 108 votes for the supervisor position. Joe Gruenes received three write-in votes for the supervisor position. Incumbent Loren Eull did not seek reelection.
A total of 71 voters cast ballots. Incumbent clerk Joyce Strootman received 70 votes. Incumbent supervisor Harlow Olson received 63 votes while challenger Wayne Odell received eight votes.
Lake Henry Township:
A total of 40 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Ralph Klassen was reelected with 35 votes. Newcomer Matt Hemmesch was elected to a supervisor position with 35 votes. Incumbent Gary Olmscheid did not file for another term.
A total of 20 voters cast ballots. Incumbent clerk Jan Rossmeisl received 19 votes. Incumbent supervisor LuVerne Becker received 20 votes.
A total of 330 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Kathleen Hemmesch received 203 votes. The other ballots for clerk were blank. Incumbent supervisor Daniel Holthaus was reelected with 248 votes, while his challenger, Kay Cook, received 82 votes.
A total of 129 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Don Wiese received 116 votes. On write-in votes, John Atwood defeated incumbent Johnnie Olson 66 to 52. John Stanger also received four votes for supervisor by write-in.
A total of 30 voters cast ballots. Incumbent clerk Patsy Fenske received 30 votes; and incumbent supervisor Foster Hudson received 28.
St. Martin Township:
A total of 20 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Don Rausch, received 20 votes. Incumbent supervisor Clarence Olmscheid also received all 20 votes.
Union Grove Township:
A total of 11 voters cast ballots. Incumbent clerk Loren Pearson was reelected with 11 votes. Incumbent supervisor Verrol Smith also received 11.
A total of 19 votes were cast. Incumbent clerk Carolyn Reeck received 19 votes while incumbent supervisor Duane Burg received 18 votes.
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