Voters recall Two Harbors Mayor

Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson
Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson(KBJR 6/CBS 3)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -After months of controversy voters in Two Harbors voted to oust Mayor Chris Swanson.

The final count had 86% of voters saying yes to recalling Mayor Chris Swanson.

Mayor Chris Swanson said in June he wouldn’t resign from his post as Mayor, triggering the recall election.

Around 600 people got the initiative on the ballot after allegations of abuse of power, conflict of interest and unwelcome attention for a planned underwater hotel with help from a recluse billionaire. Swanson is also accused of sexual assault.

Two voters today did not share how they voted in the recall election but did say they hoped the community would start healing soon from a divisive few months.

“I think that this vote will put a rest to this once and for all,” Mary Hedin said.

Hedin was born and raised in Two Harbors, and according to her, has voted in every single election.

“I was born and raised here,” she said, “I never left.”

In recent months, the community has had to grapple with a series of explosive allegations. She said it’s been difficult to live in a divided community.

“People are discussing it and people are losing friends,” Hedin said, “and people are not being kind to each other and that distresses me as part of the community.”

Hedin hoped that the recall election would put an end to the controversy.

“Today should be the finalization of what’s been happening for quite some time now,” she said.

Voters had two choices for today’s recall. On ballots, voters were asked, “Should Mayor Chris Swanson be recalled.” Voters would then choose “Yes” to have Swanson removed from office or “No” if they wanted to keep him as Mayor.

Several have accused the Mayor of mixing business with politics. Jose Leon said he wasn’t a fan of the mix of business and politics.

“I just feel that there have been unfair business advantages to certain individuals based on politics,” Leon said.

Leon, a Two Harbors resident for the last ten years, has worked with the city to live stream meetings and events.

“I program all the channels for public access,” he said.

Leon said the community has turned out for the election in a way he’s never seen before. Campaign signs are all across the small Northshore city.

“I’ve never seen as many signs as I’ve seen in this election,” he said.

Both Leon and Hedin agreed that they want to see the division within the community stop.

“We can’t be a divided community,” Leon said.

And Hedin said Two Harbors hasn’t always been that way.

“We’re generally a very kind community and I would like to see that restored,” she said

We reached out to Mayor Chris Swanson today for an interview, but he did not respond to our requests.

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