Despite facing a tumultuous election season amid accusations of impropriety and failures to communicate with members, Crow Wing Power's three incumbents up for a vote all emerged victorious.
District 1B director Doris Mezzenga, District 2A director Gordon Martin and Paul Koering of District 3's at-large seat all won another three-year term on the board, beating out multiple challengers and often convincingly.
Members were able to vote for one director per district via mail-in ballot received no later than June 8, while members were also able to submit ballots in person until about 11:15 a.m. during the co-op's annual meeting 9-11 a.m., Saturday, June 8, at Crow Wing Power headquarters, 17330 Highway 371, Brainerd.
Crow Wing Power is a power electric co-op-with a number of for-profit subsidiaries under its control-serving roughly 38,000 members in Crow Wing, Cass and Morrison counties.
District 1B primarily covers the northeast portion of Cass and Crow Wing counties, including Remer to the north, Longville to the west, and Outing, Fifty Lakes and Emily to the south.
District 2A primarily includes southern Cass County, northwest Morrison County and western Crow Wing County near Gull and Round lakes. Communities in this stretch include Nisswa, Pillager and Motley.
For the at-large seat, members can select a director from District 3-both 3A and 3B-which comprises Brainerd-Baxter up to Nisswa, as well as Crosby-Ironton to the east, down to Fort Ripley, Little Falls, Pierz and Royalton at the southernmost border.
Of 38,246 eligible voting members, 5,676 submitted ballots for a 14.84% voter turnout. Crow Wing Power spokeswoman Char Kinzer said this number falls in line with the average turnout over the last 10 years.
District 1B vote counts
Incumbent Doris Mezzenga, of Crosslake first elected in 2016, garnered 2,347 votes. She beat Giles Radtke of Emily, who garnered 1,589 votes. Coming third and fourth in the election were Eric Larson of Otsego and Fifty Lakes resident Jan Peterschick with 1,103 and 558 votes respectively. There were six write-ins.
District 2A vote counts
Incumbent Gordon Martin, the longest-tenured member of the board seated since 1992, triumphed over his opponents with 2,146 votes. Second place went to Nisswa resident Paul Cibuzar at 1,760 votes, third to Cass County resident Paul Thiede with 978 votes, and 723 votes for fourth place to Lake Shore resident John Terwilliger, as well as six write-ins.
District 3 at-large vote counts
Incumbent Paul Koering, a resident of rural Brainerd who's served since 2016, beat out his lone challenger in Michael Burton of Lake Edward Township near Nisswa. Koering gathered 2,921 votes, while Burton couldn't close the gap with 2,668 votes. In addition, there were five write-ins.