Crystal Challengers Win Big

November 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm 1 comment

by Jason Bradley

Last night is one that may go down in history. As they say, “es un momento histórico”. Well, some people say that, anyway… don’t they?

You see, the City of Crystal had three party-endorsed, machine-supported incumbents who were beat by three fresh challengers that were elected into office for the first time.

What does all of this mean? Is it a trend that will take hold across the Metro, and the state? We will be exploring this, as we dissect the results over the next weeks and months.

As is tradition, we are going to relay and break down the numbers as they were reported, so that you can understand what happened, and stay on top of things.


Let’s take a look first, at the raw data:

First is Ward 1- Elizabeth Dahl vs. Mark Hoffman

As you may remember, I called this race for Elizabeth last week. I expected Mark to be the toughest to beat, given his perception as the “elder statesman” of the group. What I did not expect is that it would be so one-sided. I (in private) guessed she would come in around 55%.

Here’s how it shook out-

Elizabeth Dahl- 1074 votes for 61.09%

Mark Hoffman- 677 votes for 38.51 votes

At a precinct level- Elizabeth won Precinct 1 (Mark’s precinct) 599 to 427. We knew that she would have to get at least 45%, given the size of the precinct, it was Mark’s home area, and Mark actually won this precinct in the primary. Elizabeth outpaced even our expectations here. In Precinct 2 (her precinct) she won 271 to 147, and in Precinct 3, she won 201 to 103. We were confident that because of Mark’s stance on the Mill and Overlay financing in the Winnetka Hills area that she would take these two areas. The entire Ward broke for Elizabeth, and left us a little surprised.

Next is Ward 2- Jeff Kolb vs. Joe Selton

I also called this race for Jeff last week, and thought he might get in between 55-60%. Again, my expectations were exceeded.

Here’s how it shook out-

Jeff Kolb- 1258 votes for 66.84%

Joe Selton- 615 votes for 32.68%

At a precinct level- Jeff won Precinct 1 593 to 252. That’s a greater than 2-to-1 margin. In Precinct 2, Jeff won 467 to 282. In Precinct 3, he again over-doubled Joe at 198 to 81. We had figured that Joe’s quietness, and more cordial competition, was going to help his vote totals. He still had to defend his votes, and I believe that the regular public outbursts from his wife, former mayor ReNae Bowman, pretty much torpedoed his chances. This resulted in Jeff getting over 2/3 of the total vote tally.

Finally, is Section 2 (Wards 3 and 4 together)

I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record here, but I, again, called this for Olga last week. I privately told Andrew that I thought she’d get 66% in this race. He thought I was out of my gourd, but I turned out to be pretty close.

Here’s how it shook out-

Olga Parsons- 2133 votes for 64.27%

John Budziszewski- 1169 for 35.22%

At a precinct level- Olga won Ward 3, Precinct 1 379 to 190, or one vote away from doubling his vote total. This is John’s home precinct, and it wasn’t even close. In Ward 3, Precinct 2, Olga won 625 to 328. This was Olga’s home precinct, and based on the signage, we were certain she was going to take this area. Olga took Ward 3, Precinct 3 133 to 86. In Ward 4, Precinct 1 Olga amassed a 552 to 325 spread. Finally, in Ward 4, Precinct 2, Olga took 444 votes to John’s 240. With Ward 4 being our area, we had a really good indication about the way it was trending. We knew what people were saying and that John was not well liked by the few that even knew who he was. He had to not only overcome his voting record, he also had to overcome the odd behavior he exhibited in this race, displaying dishonesty about his opponent (and yours truly), making faces, rolling his eyes, shouting down a citizen taking a photo at the debate, etc., etc.

So there it is. The incumbents handily lost every precinct in the city. Voters decided to go in a different direction. I know it sounds a little cold and matter-of-fact, but I don’t think there’s any other way to spin it. I want to congratulate the winners on their victories, and thank the incumbents for their service. I hope that the new class of Councilmembers will have more respect and care for the people they represent. Given that was a major pledge of their platform, I believe they will. If, however, they do not, Community Solutions MN will be right here to keep you posted. In other words, we’re not going anywhere. Our job is not finished.


Entry filed under: City Government, Crystal. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Mobilize and Vote! Well, We’re Off To A Great Couple Of Months!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bill C  |  November 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I predict the prognostications of doom and gloom, degraded quality of life in Crystal and divisiveness of the new council start before the weekend.


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