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Thin margins separate District 833 School Board winners

Tracy Brunnette1 / 5
Katie Schwartz2 / 5
Katy McElwee-Stevens3 / 5
Sharon Van Leer4 / 5
Laurie Johnson5 / 5

Razor-thin margins separated winners from losers Tuesday in the 14-way race for District 833 School Board’s four-year seats that returned two incumbents to the board.

According to unofficial Secretary of State figures, winners for the four open four-year seats were St. Paul Park resident Katie Schwartz, incumbent Tracy Brunnette of Cottage Grove, fellow incumbent and Newport resident Katy McElwee-Stevens and Sharon Van Leer of Woodbury.

Schwartz led all vote-getters with 11.46 percent, while Brunnette gathered 10.58 percent. McElwee-Stevens earned the third-highest vote total with 9.37 percent.

Van Leer edged fellow Woodbury resident Molly Lutz by the narrowest of margins for the final four-year seat. According to unofficial results, Van Leer won by a five-vote margin – 2,463 to 2,458. It was not clear Tuesday night whether the margin of victory could trigger a recount.

A total of 14 candidates vied for the four-year seat.

In the three-way race for the board’s two-year seat, incumbent School Board member Laurie Johnson of Woodbury cruised to a win over challenger and fellow Woodbury resident Susan Richardson.

Johnson collected 51 percent of the vote to Richardson’s 33 percent. The third candidate for the two-year seat, David Firkus, who did not actively campaign, drew a distant third with 15 percent of the of vote.

Check back Wednesday for reaction from the candidates and details on what, if any, recount effort could be in store.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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