Bill Coughlin will take Charlie Crichton's place at city hall. The local attorney trounced eight other competitors in his bid for the late council member's seat, taking almost 60 percent of the vote.
Coughlin took 1,708 of the 2,946 votes cast on Tuesday, almost three times as many as his nearest competitor. The decisive victory put an end to the special election that followed Crichton's death on March 13. The 83-year-old Crichton left big shoes to fill: He'd held the seat for almost two decades.
When contacted, Coughlin offered fellow candidates praise for a race well run.
"I first congratulate all the other candidates for doing an excellent job in their campaigning efforts," Coughlin said in a prepared statement.
Coughlin said he was excited by the results, especially given his own respect for Crichton's legacy.
"It is an honor to fill the remaining time of the revered Charlie Crichton. I'll tell you of one of memorable times of my campaign was last week when Charlie's widow invited me to place a sign in her yard," Coughlin said.
All the same, Coughlin said he was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
"I had no idea what would happen," Coughlin said. "I want to thank everyone who helped me or encouraged me to do it. It will be a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of Burnsville."
Many of Coughlin's new constituency were MIA on election day, however. A little less than 5 percent of Burnsville's total population came out to the polls.
At some precinct polls fewer than 100 people showed up. Twyla Johnson, head election judge at Burnsville City Hall, said turnout at her precinct was a little better than expected: 379 of the 3,066 registered voters in that area cast a ballot.
"I feel bad saying that about a number that's so low, but that's better than I thought we would do," Johnson said. "But it's the summertime on an off-year."