At press time, the clock was winding down on Aug. 13, the final day candidates for Anoka County’s District 6 commissioner seat could file for office. Six candidates had filed for the seat so far, including several prominent current or former faces in various Anoka County political scenes (if anyone else filed at the last minute, they will be added to the list of candidates in this story).
The number of candidates means that the eventual winner will only serve out a term of less than a year. The Nov. 5 special election to fill the seat left vacant by former Commissioner (and now County Administrator) Rhonda Sivarajah would have selected an occupant immediately had only one or two candidates been on the ballot, but any more than that will force another one-on-one contest Feb. 11, 2020 between the two top vote-getters from the November tally. That winner will serve until the end of Sivarajah’s term, December 2020.
Out of the local political figures vying for the seat, perhaps the most prominent is current Lino Lakes Mayor Jeff Reinert, who is forgoing a reelection campaign in favor of seeking the commissioner position (Lino Lakes holds its municipal elections in odd-numbered years). Reinert, a former Lino Lakes councilman, was first elected mayor in 2009.
Reinert isn’t the only candidate with mayor on the resume, however. Cindy Hansen, who resigned as Spring Lake Park’s mayor this summer due to her family’s move to Lino Lakes, also filed for the office. She was first elected in 2010.
Two other local political figures running are former Centennial School Board Member Karen Lodico, of Circle Pines, and former Lino Lakes Charter Commissioner Craig Johnson.
Finally, the other two names on the candidate list may still be familiar to voters. One, Donovan McGuire, ran unsuccessfully for a Lino Lakes council seat in 2001, and the other, Kevin Ryan, of Linwood, has been a perennial, though unsuccessful, candidate for Sivarajah’s seat for several years.
In The Forest Lake Times’ coverage area, District 6 encompasses both Columbus and Linwood Township.