ROCHESTER, Minn.- In the race for Rochester's city council president, the political season ends with both victory and loss.
Rochester City Council president Dennis Hanson, 57, died of a brain aneurysm in late June, but this past Tuesday, he was re-elected, earning 51.5 percent of the vote.
"It really wasn't a job for him, it was more of his calling," said his widow, Linda Hanson. "He wasn't at all ready to give up."
Linda Hanson and her six children made a difficult decision amid grief. Under state law, it was too late to remove her husband's name from the ballot, but if Denny Hanson was voted back to his seat, the public could choose between two candidates later at a special election.
Linda Hanson says while some criticize her family's decision to spend money on another election, a fair process is what her husband would have wanted.
"It was a great tribute to him. I am proud that we went ahead and did this, very proud of my kids, because without them, I wouldn't have been able to do it," she said.
City Clerk Judy Scherr is in charge of the special election that will be held in April 2013, and says to her knowledge, this hasn't happened in the city of Rochester before.
"I have to think he had a little divine intervention in this whole thing perhaps? Maybe, he helped things a long a little bit," said Scherr." I praise his family for going ahead and doing it. I don't know I could have. It would have been very difficult."
Hanson received the more than 46,000 votes cast, with challenger Jan Throndson picking up 43 percent. Write-in candidate Jeff Thompson received about 5 percent of the vote. Those opponents have filed to run again in the special election, along with another city council member.
"Rochester was his life, he came from Rochester, grew up here, went to school here, and he wanted to help people, wanted to help the community," said Scheer. "His love of people, and I think it's a good way to carry on."
Hanson served with the city council since 1999 and was elected president in 2004 and 2008.
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