Rachel Bohman defeats Brian Braaten in Rochester Township election
Voters in a small township just outside city limits sent a clear message on Tuesday that bigotry will not be tolerated.
In a decisive victory, attorney Rachel Bohman defeated incumbent Brian Braaten for a spot on the Rochester Township Board. Preliminary results showed Bohman with 345 votes compared to just 50 for Braaten. (The number of votes cast was extraordinarily high for the township. In previous years, elections were decided with under 50 votes cast.)
A Rochester native, Bohman has held a variety of positions in state and county government, including serving as County Recorder for Hennepin County and overseeing a budget of more than $5 million. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Rochester Township.
"I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the voters in Rochester Township," Bohman said Tuesday night. "I look forward to serving all the people in our community. I hope to continue to build relationships with other local communities and focus on our long-term planning."
Braaten, who served as chair of the board, has become infamous locally for spreading offensive and racist messages through social media. He has referred to former First Lady Michelle Obama as a "skank" and Hillary Clinton a "crooked liar bitch nazi." In one repulsive post, he called the Obama family "thugs" and "anti-American negroes."
Prior to Tuesday's election, Braaten told the Post-Bulletin that he objects to being called a racist. “Just because you’re a conservative doesn’t mean you’re a racist,” he told the paper. He continues to serve as an appointed member of the Olmsted County Environmental Commission.
Also at Tuesday's meeting:
Challenger Jamie Neisen overwhelmingly defeated incumbent Art Reckinger. Gary Swenson, who ran unopposed, was re-elected to another term as town clerk. And the board voted to keep gopher feet bounties at $4.
Cover photo: Rachel Bohman