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New faces for Farmington City Council

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New faces for Farmington City Council
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Farmington has a new mayor-elect, and he's never even served on the Farmington City Council.

That is not to say Todd Larson does not have any knowledge about how city government runs. But the longtime planning commission member has only served in an appointed position during his civic career.

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But voters did not seem to care whether Larson had been on the council. He was elected with 3,246 votes, coming in over friend and high school classmate David McKnight, who had also thrown his hat into the mayoral race. McKnight came in second, with 2,889 votes.

Current mayor Kevan Soderberg finished third with 1,879, followed by candidate Abel Miranda, with 754.

Later Tuesday night, Larson said he was in a bit of a shock, but in a good way. Larson and his family spent the evening driving around Farmington collecting his political signs -- "Anything to keep my mind off the election," he said -- but friends and family kept calling and sending texts to give updates. After the fourth precinct called in and reported numbers -- and Larson was in the lead by more than 200 votes -- Soderberg called to congratulate him.

Though he has had a say in the city's growth as part of the planning commission for the past 13 years, Larson said he has a lot to learn before taking the mayor's seat in January. To get ready, he will spend lot of time with Soderberg over the next couple of months.

Though McKnight carried Precincts 1, 2 and 5, the widest margin between his count and Larson's was 58 in Precinct 5. Larson carried Precinct 3 by 158 votes over McKnight.

"I'm glad all the hard work paid off, but it hasn't sunk in yet," Larson said.

City council

Sitting city council members McKnight and David Pritzlaff, who had filed for re-election to his post, both lost their seats at the council table. The four-year terms held by both men were open, and six residents filed to compete for those spots.

Instead, Julie May and Terry Donnelly, a current member of the School District 192 Board of Education, will take their places. May earned the most votes with 3,623. Donnelly was not far behind, bringing in 3,393.

Pritzlaff brought in 3,209, followed by Jason Bartholomay with 2,802, Edgar Samuelson with 1,113, and Adam Kneeland with 998.

Wednesday morning, May admitted to being a little nervous about her upcoming role in politics, even though she has been involved in many civic organizations within the city of Farmington. Part her apprehension comes from simply having to learn how to be a city council member.

"Last night (council member) Christy (Fogarty) said, 'Are you going to the canvassing meeting?'and I said, 'What's that?' I'm a little green on the jargon, but I'm a quick learner and I want to do the community proud," May said.

Waiting for the election results to come in was a family affair at the May house.

"My family and I were glued to the computer and pressing the refresh button all night," she said. "It was really exciting."

The race was a tough one, she said, because there were several good, qualified candidates for residents to choose from. But in the end, she thinks her years of community involvement may have had a hand in her election."

May carried the vote in four of Farmington's six precincts, coming in behind Donnelly in Precincts 3 and 6 -- both of which include the area along Flagstaff Avenue, near the Donnelly family farms.

Donnelly could not be reached for comment at press time.

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