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The Anoka mayor's younger brother says he won't request a recount of the ballot tally that shows City Council Member Phil Rice has ended a four-term string of Skogquist mayoral victories.

Rice, finishing his first term on the City Council, beat political newcomer Erik Skogquist, 25, in a hard-fought campaign that saw lawn signs sprinkled throughout much of the river town.

Rice, 49, said he was surprised to win by such a narrow margin -- 70 votes, out of about 8,200 votes cast in Tuesday's election.

"It was a lot of hard work by both of us and a very, very close outcome," Rice said. He said he ran a campaign based on his experience and being a leader who could bring people together and improve the city's working relationship with Anoka County and the Metropolitan Council.

Skogquist had hoped to succeed his brother, outgoing Mayor Bjorn Skogquist, 30, who lost his bid for an Anoka County Board seat Tuesday. He is finishing his eighth year in office.

"Every vote counts. It was eight-tenths of one percent," Erik Skogquist said of his loss margin. He said the outcome might have been affected by recent news reports about a lawsuit a developer filed against the Skogquist brothers and the city over the planned renovations of the Windego amphitheater. He said another factor was Rice: "I had a good opponent. He worked hard and is a decent guy."

Skogquist said he won't seek a recount, but may consider another run for council in two years.

Two area judicial races featured lawyers challenging sitting judges, both of whom prevailed. Ramsey City Council Member John Dehen made a solid showing against Sher-burne County District Judge Robert Varco, who captured 53 percent of the vote for a second, six-year term. Dehen received just over 118,000 votes to 170,769 for Varco.

In an Anoka County race, District Judge Nancy Logering easily beat part-time public defender Luke Stellpflug. Logering drew 64 percent of about 324,900 ballots cast, about the same margin by which she beat him six years ago.

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658