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Erik Burgess, Published November 06 2013

Many new faces earn seats on Moorhead City Council

MOORHEAD – When the new City Council here meets for the first time next year, there will be many fresh faces.

Voters on Tuesday kept one of two incumbents who were up for re-election and voted in two new council members in wards where no incumbent ran.

Incumbent Councilwoman Brenda Elmer handily won re-election in the city’s 3rd Ward, taking 69 percent of the vote, in complete but unofficial results. Challenger Julian Dahlquist had 26 percent.

With Mark Hintermeyer losing the mayoral bid and his council seat, Elmer, with only four years of experience, is now the second-most senior council member. Councilwoman Nancy Otto is the most senior member with 14 years in office.

Elmer on Tuesday night said her win came down to her deep roots and tough work over the past four years in the 3rd Ward.

“Helping constituents with questions and problems and issues … that kind of trumps all the campaigning in a condensed period of time,” said Elmer, who took 1,230 votes to Dahlquist’s 466.

Former 1st Ward City Councilman Dan Bohmer, who was on the ballot in the 3rd Ward but not actively running, had 4 percent, with 74 votes.

In the 2nd Ward, incumbent Mark Altenburg was ousted by challenger Jim Haney. Haney captured 51 percent of the vote to Altenburg’s 49 percent.

Haney, who has owned Haney’s Photography in Moorhead for 36 years, credited his hard campaigning for the win.

“I went among the people and the people spoke,” said Haney, who captured 685 votes to Altenburg’s 648.

“I feel good,” Haney added. “I feel like Napoleon Dynamite.”

In an email to The Forum late Tuesday, Altenburg congratulated Haney and said his challenger “ran a better campaign.”

“Thank you to the people of Moorhead for the last four years,” Altenburg said in a brief statement. He will finish his first term at the end of this year.

Ward 1

No incumbent ran in the city’s 1st Ward on the north side. One-term Councilman Luther Stueland did not seek re-election after serving four years.

Mari Dailey won easily, taking 50 percent of the vote in complete but unofficial results. David John Hallman had 31 percent and Alex Huseby had 17 percent.

When reached for comment late Tuesday, Dailey, an American history teacher at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Middle School, said she was uncharacteristically speechless.

“My mind has gone blank because I’m still going ‘Holy buckets, I just won an election!’” Dailey said. “Enjoy this. You will never find me speechless again.”

Dailey credited her “genuine message” for the win, saying she enjoyed door-knocking and getting to know the people of her ward better. She won with 572 votes.

“I took a genuine interest in their concerns, and you know we just kept it real,” she said. “And I think that really made a big difference.”

Hallman had 356 votes, and Huseby had 196.

Ward 4

The open seat in the 4th Ward, vacated by Hintermeyer, had five hopefuls.

Chuck Hendrickson won out, grabbing 34 percent of the vote, in complete but unofficial results. Ben Anderson had 31 percent, Cassandra Lougheed had 17 percent, Newzad Brifki had 10 percent and Chris Floberg had 8 percent.

Hendrickson’s mother passed away Monday after suffering a recent stroke, and he said him winning would’ve meant the world to her. Even when she was in intensive care, she told her son to go out and door knock, Hendrickson said.

“This win was for her. Well, the win was for the constituents in my ward, but I had my mom in my heart when I was running,” he said. “She told me just go out and work hard and campaign like you know how to do, and you’re going to come out alright, and she was right.”

Hendrickson took 446 votes to Anderson’s 401. Lougheed had 224, Brifki had 127, and Floberg had 107.

Each candidate is running for a four-year term as one of two representatives for each ward. Council members are paid $10,212 per year.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518