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Bergson, Bell to square off for mayor

The campaign continues for Charlie Bell and Herb Bergson, who will be trying to sway thousands of voters who supported their unsuccessful rivals. The two came out on top Tuesday night in a high-interest, seven-way primary that attracted 41 percen...

The campaign continues for Charlie Bell and Herb Bergson, who will be trying to sway thousands of voters who supported their unsuccessful rivals.

The two came out on top Tuesday night in a high-interest, seven-way primary that attracted 41 percent of the city's registered voters.

After three terms, Mayor Gary Doty decided not to run again, setting the stage for a campaign season that started late last year.

"I feel very good," said Bell, a West Duluth businessman, after the votes were counted. "We will continue to go ahead in the same mode."

Bell was first to announce for the office and kicked off his campaign last November, his first attempt at public office. He credited his volunteers with making the effort a success.

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The lead had changed hands several times in the evening, but Bergson pulled ahead to win with 4,912 votes compared to Bell's 4,724.

"I am truly flattered by your support," said Bergson to his campaign workers afterward. "I am looking forward to the next eight weeks."

Bergson is a former Superior mayor and currently serves on the Duluth City Council. He works in law enforcement and took an earlier unsuccessful run at Duluth's highest office before being elected to the council.

Bergson, a Superior police officer, said he knocked on more doors in this campaign than ever before.

"We're going to work just as hard," said Bergson on Friday. "We have the same people and some new ones. We'll be focusing on the issues -- economic development and jobs."

The candidate will be emphasizing his experience in those areas.

Bergson ended up with 21.38 percent of the vote, compared to 20.56 percent for Bell. The pair are to appear in a mayoral forum on Sept. 23 at the University of Minnesota Duluth. They are scheduled to debate on Oct. 21 at the College of St. Scholastica.

In a close third place was City Councilor Greg Gilbert with 4,420 votes. He was followed by Councilor Jim Stauber, 3,530, state Rep. Tom Huntley, 2,843, salesman Vern Latourneau, 1,668, and County Commissioner Joanne Fay with 877 votes.

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Incumbent Donny Ness dominated the race for councilor-at-large with 35 percent of the vote.

The field of eight was reduced to four, who will battle for the two at-large seats in November. Joining Ness on the ballot are attorney Tim Little, school board member Garry Krause and Peggy Marrin, a licensed psychologist and elementary teacher.

Labor activist Laurie Johnson easily won the three-way race for the council's District One seat. She will face Todd Fedora.

Incumbent Russ Stover won the District Five council primary and will face Maryellen Kervina.

In the District One Duluth School Board race, Thomas Hustad came out on top and will face incumbent Harry Welty. Both incumbents moved on in the at-large school board race. Mike Akervik will face Robert Mars Jr.

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