When Write-in Candidates Count.

A funny thing happened when I was looking to find out who the newly elected officials are in Richmond. It started when I found an interesting St. Cloud Times article about a three-way race for Mayor. Richmond, a town of just over 1,400 (as of 2010) had three people running. Great! I thought. Democracy is alive and well in Richmond. But what about the city council?

The SOS website showed only one named candidate running for the two open seats. Mike Mathiasen won. No doubt about that. The write-in candidates would need more investigation. I called the city of Richmond. They said that Mike Mathiasen won and that Pat Evans was the winner of the write-in ballot. There was another city council seat open with their write-in special election in 2018, but I was told that the city would have to appoint someone. How strange.

Pat Evans. He was one of the candidates who ran for mayor (but lost). I wondered how could someone who had their name on the ballot for mayor win a write-in candidate contest for city council. Perhaps Richmond insiders had simply chosen someone who had served on the city council before. Was Richmond not giving the duly elected write-in candidates their fair shake? And who won the write-in special election?

I went to the source. The next day I made a phone call to the Stearns County Treasurer-Auditors office. After speaking with a couple of people and making a request... I received an Email from Nikki Lahr. The results showed clear as day that Pat Evens had won the write-in contest for both Council Member (47 votes) and Special Election Council Member (29 votes). He won both races.

People in Richmond really love Pat Evens, but I suppose you would expect nothing less from a man who has a court file that reads, “...the Administrative Law Judge finds that there is no probable cause to believe that Patrick Evens violated Minnesota Statutes §211B.13 by providing ice cream to Casey’s General Store in Richmond, Minnesota, for its “Customer Appreciation Days” event. Congratulations to all the newly elected officials in Richmond. I look forward to seeing who gets appointed. Maybe it will be Emily Monnens? We shall see.

Michael Willemsen