Residents Find Way To Get Reluctant Candidates Into Office
HAMPTON, Minn. (AP) _ You don’t have to campaign to get elected mayor or City Council member in this town of 299 people.
″They all say they don’t want the job and, when they get elected, they take the job,″ said City Clerk Bonnie Delvaux, who once nearly got elected mayor against her will.
″The residents get all hot and bothered a week before election, saying, ’Hey, got to get some people in office,‴ said council member Pat Thorson. ″You kind of draft people.″
Tuesday was the deadline for candidates in the town in east-central Minnesota to get their names on the November ballot for two council seats. Council members get $300 a year.
No one filed for nomination, according to Delvaux, who said she can’t recall anyone seeking the nomination for the council or mayor’s job in the 11 years she’s been clerk.
″It’s a close-knit town, but nobody wants to be in charge,″ Delvaux said. ″They don’t want to be the one that gets (criticized) if the council makes the wrong decision.″ Delvaux said.
So, with blank ballots, elections often are last-minute, write-in campaigns. If no one asks for their vote, residents just decide among themselves which of their neighbors deserves the job, Delvaux said.
The winner usually serves, Delvaux said.
Thorson herself didn’t file and didn’t run for re-election four years ago. ″I didn’t really want the job,″ she said.
But Thorson said other council members decided she should be re-elected and spread. ″It was so overwhelming, and it made me feel so good, I took it,″ she said.
But Thorson, a 10-year council veteran, vows not to take the job again, even if elected. Jack Weinzettel, the other council member whose seat is up for election, said he hasn’t decided whether to seek re-election.