After 13 years, there will be a new county commissioner representing District 2 of Washington County.
Longtime Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek was defeated by challenger Ted Bearth—the results came in early Wednesday morning, with Bearth taking 52 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Pulkrabek.
Pulkrabek, 42, has served as a county commissioner since 1999. Before that he was the mayor of Oakdale from 1995 to 1998, a title he received in his mid-20s.
Bearth said he has been encouraged to run for the Washington County Board since he first retired from the city council in 2004, but he often dismissed the idea and opted for retirement instead.
"It finally got to the point where I was unhappy with what we got so I decided I either had to put up or shut up," Bearth said.
Pulkrabek said he needs to start thinking about what he's going to do next. He told Oakdale Patch Wednesday that Bearth's community involvement most likely attributed to his loss.
"Ted Bearth has been a long-time resident of Oakdale. He was mayor and on the city council for a long time and is part of a lot of groups," Pulkrabek said. "I think he is well-thought of in Oakdale."
Bearth said he thinks his strengths are being able to compromise and get along with people.
"I will be doing a lot of listening in the beginning," Bearth said. "I'm just excited to get going and meet the new people and get started. I've got a lot of work to do and a lot of learning to do."
New Washington County commissioners will be sworn in on Jan. 8. For more information about the other Washington County commissioner races click here.
"I just want to say that I want to give big thank you to the people who have elected me and it certainly was an honor to serve the residents of Washington County," Pulkrabek said. "I’ve had a good run and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity given me."
During this campaign, Pulkrabek noted his contribution to the county's "stellar financial shape" and low taxes, however, he has undergone heavy public scrutiny since he was involved in a domestic incident last year.
Bearth, 74, has also served as the mayor of Oakdale. He was mayor for six years and a city councilman for 20 years. Bearth currently serves on the OakdaleVeterans Memorial Committee, the Oakdale Park Board and is a member of the Maplewood-Oakdale Lions Club. He has also run Summerfest, the city's largest summer festival.