Two Harbors mayor: ‘I will not resign,’ faces recall election instead

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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TWO HARBORS, MN-- The Mayor of Two Harbors, Chris Swanson publicly addressed local efforts to trigger a recall election for the first time Wednesday.

The Resign or Recall Committee collected 600 signatures from community members, enough to trigger a recall election for the mayor in August.

Swanson had until Tuesday to file his resignation or face the recall.

Wednesday he announced he had no plans to resign.

“What we’re doing in our community is finally working. We are taking on bigger projects, and we’re starting to move forward. The best is yet to come. I will not resign,” said Swanson.

In his roughly 8-minute speech, Swanson addressed his accomplishments in office.

“The real question for the community of Two Harbors is: Does Two Harbors want to continue to move forward and get things done? Or do they want to stop and go backward?” he asked.

Swanson took credit for major local projects, such as the expansion of Castle Danger, the change in sales tax to raise public funding, and citywide funding for infrastructure maintenance.

“So that everyone is crystal clear of who I am... Yep, I’m a visionary leader who loves his community, Two Harbors,” he said.

Some in the community took issue with Swanson’s claims.

“[The mayor] certainly is claiming all the credit for a lot of good things that have been happening in this town that would have certainly happened with or without Chris Swanson in the Mayor seat there,” said Todd Ronning, Chair of the Resign or Recall Committee.

Ronning’s group cited their concerns that the mayor’s most recent term has had conflicts of interest, abuse of power, and unwelcome attention over Swanson’s plan to build an underwater hotel funded by a reclusive billionaire.

“I think we’ve been the laughingstock of the state the last couple of months. And I think our reputation has been tarnished,” said Ronning, “We just want to restore some dignity and some faith in our elected officials.”

Despite Ronning’s effort, backed by 599 other citizens, Swanson stood firm Wednesday that his time in office has been good for the city of Two Harbors.

“Let’s be honest: more has been done in Two Harbors in the past five and a half years and the previous 20,” said Swanson.

The recall election will be held August 9, the same day as the midterm primaries.

Voters will be asked: “Should Mayor Chris Swanson be recalled?” and will have the option to answer, “Yes or No.”

If the majority of voters say yes, he will immediately leave office and someone will be appointed to fill his seat.

If not, he’ll remain as the mayor of Two Harbors.

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