ST. CLOUD — Former planning commission member Jake Anderson earned more than 55% of the Third Ward vote to oust City Council Member Paul Brandmire from his seat come January.
Anderson, an IT project manager at Stearns County, previously served on the city's planning commission and park and recreation advisory board for more than a decade. He'll represent much of the city's North Side.
Brandmire, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and commercial truck driver, was first elected in 2018 and has drawn criticism for comments made in a 2019 New York Times story on refugee resettlement and for comparing a mask mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic to wearing yellow stars in Nazi Germany.
Also elected to the seven-member nonpartisan council was newcomer Karen Larson, a retired professor who earned about 55% of the vote to beat candidate Sandra Brakstad in the Second Ward, where incumbent Steve Laraway did not file for re-election. The Second Ward encompasses the city's East Side and part of the North Side.
In the Fourth Ward, on the city's South Side, incumbent Mike Conway earned about 60% of the vote to fend off challenger Hussan Yussuf, who also ran unsuccessfully for the council two years ago.
Incumbent Dave Masters ran unopposed for the seat in the First Ward, which includes much of St. Cloud's downtown, its core neighborhoods and the St. Cloud State University campus. He was re-elected with 96% of the vote.
The elected candidates will serve four-year terms, joining at-large members Jeff Goerger, George Hontos and Carol Lewis on the board that oversees zoning regulations, the annual city budget and the adoption of city ordinances. In St. Cloud's system of government, the elected mayor is the chief executive who oversees policy administration but is not a voting member of the council. The mayor can, however, veto council decisions.
St. Cloud voter Robert Oberg, 66, was among those who voted to re-elect Brandmire, who will lose his seat despite a strong incumbent re-election rate in Minnesota, where about 98% of local-level candidates were re-elected two years ago.
"I think we have a good City Council and for the most part, [it is] in touch with what needs to happen in St. Cloud," Oberg said.