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Published November 09, 2011, 09:50 PM

Barnesville elections cause big shake up

Barnesville, MN (WDAY TV) - It was not a good day for incumbents in one Minnesota city. Barnesville voted out all 3 incumbent city council members, and the incumbent mayor almost lost to a write-in candidate.

It was not a good day for incumbents in one Minnesota city. Barnesville voted out all 3 incumbent city council members, and the incumbent mayor almost lost to a write-in candidate.

It was the talk of the town at the Eagle Café in Barnesville; yesterday’s election that will see half of the city council replaced. And one reason kept coming up for the upheaval.

Bonnie Packer – Barnesville Resident: “I would say definitely people were very disappointed with the street project.”

The city spent 3.1 million dollars to redo Front Street but only about half the properties in town are picking up the bill. The mayor-who just squeaked by 20 votes-knows that the Front Street Project was on the mind of the electorate.

Fred Dahnke – Barnesville Mayor: “I think the message was loud and clear that the people that were voted out as council members were instrumental, two of them in developing the assessment policy.”

Gene Prim who is owner and editor of the local paper was approached to run against Mayor Dahnke over the weekend.

Gene Prim – Write-In Candidate: “I was approached by some people that asked me if I would take the job on a right in basis and I said that I would very, very reluctantly.”

Prim also thinks the Front Street project caused the turn over.

Gene Prim: “I think mostly you had a protest vote against the sitting council as opposed to any great desire to have me as Mayor.”

The anger over the assessment is not just from those that have to pay for it. Lavonne Heng lives outside the assessment district.

Lavonne Heng – Barnesville Resident: "But I still think I should have helped pay for it. I use it. So I don't know maybe I'm wrong."

The turn out of the council because and the close mayoral race will likely mean the assessment issue is revisited by the new council when it takes office.

Fred Dahnke: “If they don't like how you’re doing something, they'll kick you to the curb, that exactly what happened. The voters spoke, so we have to honor that.”

Mayor Dahnke won his first election as Mayor as a write-in candidate himself.

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