New mayor elected in West St. Paul

David Meisinger

John Zanmiller

John Bellows

Incumbents top challengers throughout northern Dakota County

Tuesday's election left the makeup of most municipal bodies very much the same in northern Dakota County, except for West St. Paul.

The St. Paul suburb will have a new mayor come January, unseating John Zanmiller who's served in the city's top spot since 2005. A Hennepin County Corrections career probation/parole officer, Zanmiller also served on the council for two years prior to his mayorship. 

In the midst of major city projects, such as the reconstruction of South Robert Street, revamps at Harmon Park and talks of improving West St. Paul City Hall, Zanmiller lost his re-election Nov. 4 by 354 votes, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State's preliminary results.

Late Tuesday night, Zanmiller said that he called challenger David Meisinger to congratulate him on the victory.

"I assured him that I would make every effort to ensure an orderly transition when he assumes the mayor's position," Zanmiller said in a statement. "I regret nothing over these past 12 years that I have given to the city, with one exception — I missed out on a lot of things with my kids."

Meisinger earned more than 52 percent of the vote, compared to Zanmiller's 47. 

"After a long and tough campaign, we squeezed out a 'too close for comfort' win, but we'll take it." Meisinger said in a statement. "Thank you to everyone that gave me their vote. I appreciate your confidence in me and I look forward to serving you and working with you to continue to improve West St. Paul for our residents and businesses."

Meisinger was elected mayor in 2001 for one term. He is a full-time construction manager/estimator and owner at D.T. Meisinger Development, Inc., in West St. Paul.

With a razor thin margin of 38 votes, John Bellows grabbed the Ward 3 council spot, ready to take the place of Dave Wright, an appointed councilman who said he would retire at the end of his term. John Ramsay snagged nearly 49 percent of the vote, compared to the more than 50.5 percent that went to Bellows.

West St. Paul City Council incumbents Dick Vitelli and Ed Iago ran unopposed and will be sworn in to new terms in January.

South St. Paul

In a race where voters were asked to choose three of six candidates for the South St. Paul City Council, each of the six earned at least 10 percent of the vote, leaving little room between the winners and the non-winners.

Incumbent Todd Podgorski was re-elected, topping the group at 23.7 percent of the vote. Tom Seaberg, who has been on the council since 1987, won about 19.8 percent. 

Marilyn Rothecker, the second-most senior member of the council with eight years of service, barely squeaked out a win over candidate Krystle Christensen. Rothecker earned 15.9 percent of votes, and Christensen shouldered a hard loss at 15.2 percent, only 101 votes behind.

Shawn Meck took fifth place with 13.3 percent and Luke Ayala came in sixth with 11.5 percent. Eighty-seven votes went to write-in candidates.

Inver Grove Heights

Incumbent Rosemary Piekarski Krech led the pack of four running for the two open spots on the Inver Grove Heights City Council. Krech won 5,075 votes, nearly 29 percent, and second-place finisher Paul Hark won nearly 26.6 percent of the vote. They defeated Bill Klein, a close third with 25.9 percent, and Paul Tuschy with 18.3 percent.

The mayor of Inver Grove Heights for the past 12 years, George Tourville, ran unopposed

Mendota Heights

Mendota Heights Mayor Sandra Krebsbach will keep her seat with 3,771 votes, 61.4 percent, to challenger Neil Garlock's 2,358 votes or 38.4 percent.

Incumbents Ultan Duggan and Liz Petschel will continue their runs on the council as the top two finishers, each with nearly 32 percent of the vote (3,415 and 3,417 votes, respectively). Joel Paper was next in line at about 25 percent and Mark Misukanis was last with 11 percent.


Anita Pampusch hit a nearly perfect 100 percent of the vote with 459 ballots cast for the unopposed incumbent. Two votes went to write-ins. She's in her second term leading the 700-person city.

One-term councilman John Diehl and Robert Bullard, who has been on the council for about 13 years, will continue their work on the Lilydale City Council, winning about 52 and 48 percent of the vote, respectively.

Sunfish Lake

Sunfish Lake Mayor Molly Park ran unopposed, coming out with more than 97 percent of the vote in the town of about 525. She's been the mayor for a total of 10 years. 

Incumbents JoAnne Wahlstrom and Mike Hovey split the council votes nearly right down the middle, with 201 votes to Wahlstrom and 196 votes to Hovey.


Mendota Mayor Brian Mielke kept his seat with 62 votes, nearly 85 percent of the vote in the town of about 200, which is facing major repair projects following a major deluge in June. 

Mendota City Council incumbent Melody Rasmussen grabbed 69 votes, and 31 votes went to write-in candidates. Two seats were up on the council.

South St. Paul School Board

With only three candidates, but four spots open on the South St. Paul School Board, Wendy Woods Felton, Amy Williams and Kristie Hood glided through this year's election, each with around a third of the vote. Chris Walker, a write-in candidate, was also elected.

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and Follow her at 

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