Fink says 10-year record made difference in win
Perhaps Dennis and Ann Fink will now be able to dance. Hours after winning a narrow victory in the St. Louis County Commissioners' District 1 race, Fink was at his wife's bedside Wednesday morning in a Duluth hospital as she recovered from early-...
Perhaps Dennis and Ann Fink will now be able to dance.
Hours after winning a narrow victory in the St. Louis County Commissioners' District 1 race, Fink was at his wife's bedside Wednesday morning in a Duluth hospital as she recovered from early-morning foot surgery.
"We haven't been able to walk for sometime, or dance, which is something we really like to do," said Fink, 60. "But the operation went well."
So did Fink's re-election campaign.
In a see-saw election not resolved until early Wednesday, Fink edged challenger Frank Jewell by a little more than 200 votes.
It was another nail-biter for Fink, who 10 years ago first won the District 1 seat in a75-vote win over incumbent Will Mattson.
"I think it's a demonstration of what occurred across the nation and the fact that there were two reasonable candidates," Fink said. "They ran a good race, but it got ugly at the end."
Jewell, 56, is a former Duluth city councilor and executive director of Men as Peacemakers.
"I think it's clear that with a 207-vote difference that he won," said Jewell, who conceded the race. "It was a tight race and we ran a great campaign. I just hope Dennis will carry out the promises that he made."
Fink, who describes himself as a nonpartisan fiscal conservative, said his campaign staff "did what we know how to do."
"We try to talk to voters and run a positive campaign," Fink said. "The truth is that when you run as a non-partisan, you depend on your friends and neighbors to run the race. And I think we've done a good job over the last10 years, and I think that made a difference."
Jewell said he lost the four largest precincts in the district: Kenwood, upper Duluth Heights, lower Duluth Heights and in the University of Duluth neighborhood.
Jewell said he won on Central Hillside and Park Point.
Some negative letters to the editor probably had an effect, which in a close race may have cost him the election, Jewell said.
"It's water over the dam," Jewell said. "I probably at some point will end up writing an op-ed piece in the paper to clear my name."
Fink, who begins a new a four-year term, said Tuesday's election results will keep the existing County Board together.
Incumbents Keith Nelson of Fayal Township, Mike Forsman of Ely and Steve Raukar of Kelly Lake were also re-elected.
"The first thing is that we will be able to put away our (campaign) signs for four years," Fink said. "And the County Board, which has been a very compatible board, will be able to be together for the next two years."
Jewell said he would remain with Men as Peacemakers.
And he isn't ruling out another run.
"Who knows?" said Jewell. "Maybe four years from now if Dennis is still running, I think we know how to beat him."