North St. Paul returns incumbent, former member to council

Furlong unopposed for mayor 


Though the North St. Paul City Council race heated up with five candidates vying for two seats, residents chose to re-elect incumbent council member Candy Peterson and former member Scott Thorsen. 

Peterson was the only incumbent running for the council — current council member Terry Furlong, whose term is up at the end of the year, opted to run for mayor.

Furlong filed to run following the announcement that 11-year Mayor Mike Kuehn would not seek re-election. Furlong ran unopposed and won.

Peterson led the way and was the top vote-getter — the only to clear 2,000 votes — receiving 33 percent of the vote. 

In second was Thorson, who tallied 24 percent of the vote, racking up more than 1,800 votes. 

Coming in close at third was Tim Cole with 22 percent of the vote. He was the last candidate to eclipse the 1,000-vote mark.

Chris Johnson came up short with 13 percent of the vote, Ronnie Sprigler finished last with 490 votes. 


More communication

“I’m humbled and honored to serve another term,” said Peterson, adding she likes that Thorsen has previous council experience and that she is excited to work with Furlong as mayor.

Peterson attributed her win to being a hard worker who has lived in North St. Paul her whole life and gained residents’ trust. She said public safety is “No. 1” for her, and that people responded to her tough stance on “drug houses and crime.”

Thorsen, who was on the council from 2013-15, said residents like that he’s served on the council before, and, as a longtime resident, also credited name recognition for his win. 

On the trail, Thorsen said he’d heard people are frustrated with how the city communicates with residents. An example is the emergency street construction at the downtown intersection of Seventh Avenue and Margaret Street. He said he works as an accountant on Margaret Street and didn’t find out about the construction until driving into it one morning.

“It’s kind of a common thing,” said Thorsen, adding residents elected him to the council “to be more proactive.”


‘Refreshing situation’

The losing candidates said it was a good race.

“Both [Peterson and Thorsen] have lived here in North St. Paul their whole lives,” said Sprigler. He said his campaign came up short because, though very active, he has only lived in the city for four years. 

In the end, Sprigler said it was an honor to be considered and thought it was a “very positive” race.

Johnson said he is happy for the winners and called them good people.

“There were five good choices,” he said. “That’s a refreshing situation.”

Cole could not be reached for comment. 

Peterson and Thorsen will be sworn in as council members, and Furlong as mayor, in January 2019.


–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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