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Crow Wing County Sheriff: Klang soundly defeats incumbent Goddard

The police chief said when he returns to the post as top law enforcement officer in the county, the mission is the same, but the challenges are different.

Eric Klang celebrates with supporters.
Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang, right, celebrates with supporte at a gathering Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Northern Pacific Center in Brainerd. Klang defeated incumbent Sheriff Scott Goddard in the 2022 election.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — Twenty years after he was first elected to the post for a term, Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang will return as Crow Wing County sheriff.

Klang earned 18,066 votes (58.66%) to incumbent Sheriff Scott Goddard’s 12,675 (41.15%), a 5,391-vote margin. There were 58 write-in votes.

“I will say, I was praying for a big win. And not just a win, but a big spread,” Klang said late Tuesday night. “ … As I was out campaigning and door knocking and talking to people, I felt really encouraged that every door that I hit … the reception I got was really, really good.”

Eric Klang
Eric Klang

Klang — a Hermantown native, husband and father of four sons — moved to the Brainerd lakes area in 1990 and began his career as a sheriff’s deputy until he defeated former Sheriff Dick Ross in the 2002 election. According to the Minnesota secretary of state, Klang lost in the next election by a mere six votes to former Sheriff Todd Dahl, who went on to serve three terms before retiring.

Klang returned to deputy duties and unsuccessfully challenged Dahl again in 2010. After becoming the Pequot Lakes chief in 2011, he renewed his effort to lead the sheriff’s office in 2018, coming in third of three candidates in the August primary election. This year, he was the sole challenger to run against Goddard.

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Klang said when he returns to the post as top law enforcement officer in the county, the mission is the same, but the challenges are different.

“I know we’ve got an opioid crisis that we need to continue to work on, and I’m going to really focus on partnerships with our local law enforcement and our community stakeholders to tackle some of these big challenges that we have as a community,” Klang said.

Klang said it’s been a long campaign and late Tuesday night, he felt tired but thankful.

“I’m ready for this part of the work to be done and I’m excited to get started on some of the things that we’re going to be working on in the next couple months to get set up,” he said.

Scott Goddard headshot
Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard.
Contributed / 2022

Goddard, a lifelong Crow Wing County resident, began his law enforcement career in 1993 with the Breezy Point Police Department and worked part-time with the Pequot Lakes Police Department. After a stint at the sheriff’s office and a return to Breezy, the husband and father of two made his way back to county law enforcement and has remained since.

Goddard served as captain under Sheriff Todd Dahl. Upon Dahl’s retirement, Goddard defeated Sheriff’s Deputy Pat Pickar to win the 2018 election.

A statement posted to his Re-Elect Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard Facebook page early Wednesday morning thanked everyone for the honor of being the sheriff.

“We never know where our path leads us, but we know the Lord only has the best intentions now and in the future. Our next chapter will include traveling, camping, hunting, fishing and exploring with our family & friends,” the post stated. “Our Sheriff’s Office has incredible people and I feel confident that they will not only succeed, but exceed in keeping us safe.”

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CHELSEY PERKINS, community editor, may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.

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Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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