BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) –- People in Brooklyn Park put aside part of their weekend to head to the polls. It was Election Saturday, a rare day to cast a vote in Minnesota.
Brooklyn Park’s former mayor, Steve Lampi, died from cancer in February, two months after starting his third term. The city had 60 days to hold a special election to find his replacement, according to city clerk Devin Montero.
Montero said the Brooklyn Park City Council decided to hold the election on a Saturday, instead of a Tuesday, to maximize voter turnout.
Voters that came out said they had to do their research, with a choice of 12 mayoral candidates on the ballot.
“The city charter doesn’t call for a primary so we had 12 candidates on the ballot, 12 candidates that are all diverse,” Montero said. The candidates include a former mayor, a current council member, a few female candidates and a candidate from Liberia.
Liberian native Princess Parker said the only race that matters to her is a campaign built on character. She’s lived in Brooklyn park for more than a decade.
“Knowing our past mayor, he was a great man,” Parker said. “I chose to come out here in this rain and vote today, to make sure the right person took over and run Brooklyn Park. I am a mom of four, my kids are growing up in Brooklyn Park; I want a decent community, a community that is free from gangs and everything else, that can only happen if we have a leader.”
Longtime Brooklyn Park residents Penny and Steve Sobczak said they also took time trying to research the best candidate, wanting someone who is dynamic and pro-business to help boost Brooklyn Park’s economy.
“There are big shoes to fill, we have a lot of things happening in our community that are really important,” said Penny Sobczak. “I think it was a tough election just because there are so many people on the ballot.”
Montero said the city of Brooklyn Park won’t know if a Saturday special election did attract more voters until after the polls close at 8 p.m. As far as who is leading the mayoral election, Montero said, with 12 candidates, it’s too tough to tell or pinpoint a clear frontrunner.
Results will be posted on the city’s website Saturday evening.