It's Lundberg by a landslide

Jamie Hult, Staff writer
By an overwhelming majority vote, Paul Lunberg was elected to serve as Brandon’s mayor for the next four years. Jill Meier/BV Journal

Mayoral election draws 20.2 percent
Last week’s city election reinstated Mayor Paul Lundberg in office and marked Brandon’s highest voter turnout in six years.
Lundberg received 1,161 votes to defeat alderman Tim Wakefield, who received 290 votes. 
Turnout in the April 9 mayoral race reached 20.2 percent, with 1,451 out of 7,170 registered voters casting ballots. 
That’s more than double the number of votes cast in the city’s last mayoral election. In 2011, Larry Beesley defeated Dan Mostek with a total turnout of just 705 votes. 
Lundberg, who was appointed by the Brandon City Council in 2018 following Beesley’s health-related resignation, will serve through May of 2023. 
“I’m just so pleased with the turnout. For a local election like this, 20 percent is a fabulous turnout,” Lundberg said. “And the overwhelming results were very encouraging and very humbling for me.”
Turnout was highest in Ward II, with 22 percent of the 2,439 registered voters participating. Wards I and III each drew 19 percent. 
The election was also unique in the number of absentee votes cast. City Hall was busy the day before the election, said finance officer Christina Smith, with a steady flow of absentee voters that amounted to a stack of 147 early ballots.
“With only two candidates on the ballot, I am impressed with the voter turnout. The more candidates on the ballot, the more the word gets out about an election, and the more people they reach,” Smith said. “In my time here, I have seen a 6.3 percent to a 33 percent voter turnout. You will never get 100 percent or probably even 50 percent. Of the three wards voting this year, Ward II had the most this time with 22.1 percent. This is awesome.”
By 10 a.m. Tuesday, Brandon Fire Station already had 186 votes, and 64 of them were absentee.
“That’s a lot,” said election official Linda Weber. 
Weber, who heads the Brandon Area Food Pantry, took the day off to check driver’s licenses and distribute ballots. 
“I’ve done my civic duty,” she said with a laugh.
Betty and Clyde Bigelow said they voted for Lundberg, who is business administrator for the Brandon Valley School District, because they’ve known the family for years.
“We have one of the best school districts in the state, and Paul has saved the district a lot of money,” Clyde Bigelow said. “We think he’ll do a good job as mayor.”
The Lundberg-versus-Wakefield call was the only decision voters had to make in this election. 
“The voting has been quick. I think we’ve had three people actually sit down,” said John Murawski, who served as a polling official at the municipal golf course.
Election Day also doubled as Wakefield’s 37th birthday.
“The biggest thing for me was the community feedback,” Wakefield said. “We had two good choices, two qualified candidates – that was universal on both sides.” 
Brandon’s highest voter turnout was in the 2013 bond election for proposed multi-million-dollar improvements to Aspen Park, which voters overwhelmingly defeated.  
Looking back, Lundberg is relieved to have the stress of the election lifted. Looking ahead, he’s optimistic about the next four years. 
“We’re going to get a lot of things done. We’ve delayed some projects, and we’re going to start getting those accomplished,” Lundberg said. “This summer is going to be a lot of things going on. It’ll be a mess, but that’s what I want right now.”
Reconstruction of the intersection at Holly and Sioux boulevards, originally slated for 2018, will divert traffic for four weeks this summer. 
“It’s going to be a hassle getting around the city of Brandon, but that’s the price of progress. We are going to progress,” he said. “I’m so happy – just looking forward to the next four years. We’ll get a lot of things done. I promise.”
Lundberg will be sworn in at the May 6 Brandon City Council meeting, along with Dave Kull, Tim Jorgensen and Dana Clark. Kull, Jorgensen and Clark ran unopposed for council seats in their respective wards. 


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