Mayor-elect unaware of write-in campaign

Associated Press

MANHATTAN BEACH, Minn. — By a meager three votes, a write-in candidate here defeated the incumbent mayor in Tuesday’s election.

But that’s not even the strangest part: mayor-elect Paul Allen wasn’t trying to get elected. He didn’t even know there was a chance it would happen.

It was a secret campaign that helped Allen receive 21 write-in votes topping the 18 garnered by incumbent Mayor Frederick Gridley. The town, about 25 miles north of Brainerd, has a population of 62 people — 56 are registered to vote.

The results were obviously a shock to Allen.


"I couldn’t have dreamed I would be elected. I guess their secret mission was accomplished. I couldn’t believe it. There were enough voters in the city who wanted a change."

Allen, who ran for mayor two years ago but lost by a few votes, said his wife, Janis, knew about the push to elect him as mayor, but she didn’t let on.

"She sure was giggling that next morning," after Tuesday’s election, Allen said of his wife. "I said, ’What’s so funny?’ and she said, ’Well, I’m not too sure.’ Then later, our minister came through my office and said, ‘Congratulations, Mr. Mayor.’ She was just as surprised that I didn’t know about it as I was that I had won."

Because of the narrow margin, Gridley has the option to request a re-count. As of Thursday, he had not.

The Crow Wing County Auditors’ office did not answer phone calls placed Friday because of the Veterans Day holiday. A call placed to a number listed for Gridley was not answered.

Allen said if the election results hold, he will accept the position.

"I am afraid I’ll have to," Allen said with a laugh. "They made such an effort, I guess I’ll have to oblige."

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