Johnson tops Ward 4 candidates, LeClaire comes in 2nd

Johnathan Miller came in third place in Tuesday's primary by just four votes.

Gabe Johnson
Gabe Johnson is running for a third term on the Brainerd City Council in the 2022 election.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Incumbent Gabe Johnson moves on to the general election for Brainerd’s Ward 4, along with challenger Emily LeClaire

Johnson garnered 118 votes (43.38%) during the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 9, while LeClaire earned 79, beating out the third candidate, Johnathan Miller, by just four votes.

Emily LeClaire (1)
Emily LeClaire is a 2022 candidate for Brainerd City Council Ward 4.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Johnson is looking for his third term on the council after first being elected in 2014.

“I’m real thankful for the voters to come out today and give me a little bump, a little vote of confidence that they think I’m doing a good job,” Johnson said. “It makes me feel good. So it gives me a little energy heading into November to continue to talk to my neighbors and get more votes.”

LeClaire said she was pleasantly surprised by the results, as she didn’t get to campaign as much as she would have liked to ahead of the primary but is looking forward to the general election.


“Incumbents are traditionally pretty hard to beat, so that’s definitely on my mind. So I’ll be strategizing there a little bit,” he said. “But I guess I’m just excited to get started and see where it takes us.”

LeClaire added Miller ran a great campaign and she would have liked to face him in the general election.

Miller said he was certainly disappointed by the results but still had a lot of fun campaigning.

“We really just went out there and met a lot of folks, and I think that was the most important thing,” he said.

Miller received 27.57% of the votes Tuesday, just behind LeClaire at 29.04%.

“Folks liked what we had to say, and I think at least there’s that. We certainly had a lot of fun doing this, and we’ll have to take a stab at it again at some point,” he said. “... It was really awesome meeting all the people in my neighborhood, so we’ll come back and just try to find another way to channel our sense of community and try to help the city.”

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .


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Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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