City elections are heating upAs Nov. 4 approaches there are numerous plotlines to follow in the Red Wing City Council elections.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
As Nov. 4 approaches there are numerous plotlines to follow in the Red Wing City Council elections.
This year's elections include a rematch of this summer's Ward 2 special election, a three-way contest in Ward 1 and one uncontested race for the Ward 3 and 4 combined seat.
And who is going to replace Mayor Donna Dummer?
Lisa Bayley ran away with this summer's special election, held to replace Council member Gary Peterson who resigned in March for health reasons.
She doubled her closest opponent's vote count, but that opponent isn't ready to throw in the towel.
Bill McKinley, who came in second in the special election, will challenge Bayley again this fall.
Under the Red Wing's charter, special election winners fill out the remainder of the term for the council member they're replacing and must run again in the next election scheduled for their ward.
Bayley has an opportunity to showcase her leadership while serving on the council. Her fall success or failure will likely depend on how the public views her performance.
Stephen Castner, one of Red Wing's most tenured council members, faces two challengers.
After sitting on the council for the past 10 years — he also served two years in the 1980s — Castner said he'd like to continue working on major city projects, such as improving Red Wing's biosolids facility and possibly implementing a citywide fiber optic network.
"I thought about it quite a bit ... and I really enjoy (being on the council)," Castner said. "It'd be a big void if I didn't do it."
Meanwhile, Dan Bender wouldn't mind putting Castner into political retirement.
The challenger has positioned himself as a soft-spoken problem solver, trying to create a distinction between himself and the sometimes outspoken Castner.
However, one position the pair share is that Bender, a retired IBM software engineer, like Castner is a proponent of a citywide fiber optic network.
Because of an error in the city newsletter, Hamline University graduate student Ken Bucholz said he missed the election's filing deadline.
That, however, has not kept Bucholz from running a write-in campaign.
Bucholz, whose platform is fiscal conservatism, is familiar with Red Wing's city government. He twice interned for City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann.
If you've driven through Red Wing lately you've likely seen a Ralph Rauterkus sign in someone's yard.
You may have asked whom is he running against. The answer is no one.
Rauterkus was the only one to file when Mike Hall announced he wasn't seeking re-election.
Both John Howe and Stan Nerhaugen are looking to fill big shoes.
Red Wing's popular Mayor Donna Dummer, like Hall, announced she would not seek re-election because she wanted to spend more time with her family.
This leaves the race wide open for the two men.
Because Red Wing has a weak mayor system, the mayor serves as a figurehead and an ambassador, which puts an onus on public speaking skills.