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Proctor elects new mayor, city councilor

The city of Proctor elected a new mayor and city councilor Tuesday night while another city councilor was re-elected.

Teamster union representative Chad Ward won the mayor's race with 56 percent of the vote, defeating opponents James Schwarzbauer and incumbent mayor Philip Larson.

Schwarzbauer and Larson ended the night with 23 and 21 percent of the vote, respectively.

Ward, 39, who was celebrating with friends and family at the Pit Stop Bar when the News Tribune reached him by phone Tuesday night, said he was "relieved" with the result and wants the council to move past its "bickering."

"I want to bring some professionalism back to the community and to the City Council and just start building this community to what it once was," Ward said.

In the City Council race, Rory Johnson and incumbent Jake Benson were the top two vote-getters with 36 percent and 25 percent of the vote, respectively. Both earned a spot on the City Council. The pair defeated Laura Vu and Travis White.

Vu and White pulled in 23 and 14 percent of the vote, respectively.

Johnson, a retired health and physical education teacher, coach and athletic director at Proctor High School, said he was happy with Tuesday's results.

"I'm just happy that I won and Chad won too. That's going to be a big difference," Johnson told the News Tribune by phone Tuesday night.

Johnson said Ward's landslide victory surprised him.

"Wow, I wasn't surprised by outcome, but by the number," Johnson said.

Like Ward, Johnson wants the city council to move past the drama.

"The other issues are behind us now and we can move forward," Johnson said.

Johnson wants the council to dig into Proctor's comprehensive plan, establish more trails and cater to the senior citizens who use the Proctor Area Community Center.

"It was a good race, a lot of community support," Ward said. "Now it's time to get to work."

Larson and Benson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Jimmy Lovrien

Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017 as a reporter for the Weekly Observer. He also reported for the Lake County News-Chronicle in 2017-18. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn., but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend The College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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