Rochester City Council president election - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester City Council president election


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- One of the most confusing races on the ballot on Election Day is Rochester city council president.

You've likely seen signs for three campaigns for the race -- Jan Throndson, Jeff Thompson and the late Denny Hanson.

The choice for city council president isn't as simple as picking between two living candidates.

Denny Hanson's name remained on the ballot after he passed away this summer because of a Minnesota law, and his family is asking Rochester residents to vote for him anyway to force a special election, but that's not something everyone agrees with.

"If we have a horse race and the horse goes down coming around the corner, we don't get off, and we don't get to put a new horse in the race," Jan Throndson said at a candidate forum on Oct. 24, about the Hanson family's campaign.

Jan Throndson's name is the only living candidate on the ballot in the race for Rochester city council president, and he's opposed to the idea of a special election.

"It's $128,000 for a special election, Throndson said. "Sixteen percent of people show up for those special elections."

Throndson said he's running on transparency and accountability. He said he would cut red tape to promote economic growth, but Throndson isn't in Rochester for the election. He's headed east with the Bell of Honor to a ceremony in Shanksville, Penn., and later to Washington D.C. where it will ring at a special ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

We spoke to Throndson on his drive through Pennsylvania.

"As a co-founder of the bell of honor and working with community members to do this, I think it is important to do this. So as far as the election, I've sent my message to the people, and I think its important to be both places and that's what I've done," Throndson said.

Jeff Thompson is waging a write in campaign for the roll of city council president.

He previously worked on the Denny Hanson campaign and says he doesn't want to let someone win by default, but he also thinks the city council needs a president now.

"If there was a special election this spring or summer that means the city of Rochester will go almost a whole year without a seventh vote on the city council," Thompson said.

Thompson said he is running on his experience as a county commissioner and his background working with other government bodies.

"Having all that experience that no one else has," Thompson said. "I think that makes me a better choice than the other choices."

If Denny Hanson wins this election and the race is forced to a special election, Jeff Thompson said he would run as a regular candidate.

Jan Throndson said that he is only focused on winning this election and would have to consider what to do if the outcome were different.

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