Shakopee Mayor Bill Mars will return to office for another four years after receiving 40 percent of the vote Tuesday.
Mars received 6,019 total votes, while Scott County GOP Chairman Joseph Ditto received 4,809 votes, or about 32 percent. City Councilor Mike Luce received 1,664 votes, Jeffrey Thom received 1,598 votes and William Strunk received 615 votes in unofficial results.
Mars called it a “hard battle, a good competition.”
“If you want something, you have to go earn it and you have to work hard at it,” he said Tuesday night. “We’re going to move Shakopee in a positive direction that’s inclusive, diverse. We’re going to continue to carry Shakopee to make it the best. We are the shining star of Scott County.”
Ditto congratulated Mars on a hard-fought race.“I wish Mayor Mars the best,” he said. “There were just too many conservatives in the race. (Mike) Luce and (Jeffrey) Thom pulled more votes from me than I thought they would.”In a Facebook post, Thom congratulated Mars and thanked voters for their support.
“This was a great experience, and I am truly honored that I met these great candidates and was on the same ballot,” Thom said. “We all had the same goal, making Shakopee a great city.”
Strunk said he feels good about the amount of support he garnered and is thankful for everyone who voted.
“Not bad for five bucks,” he joked, referring to the candidate filing fee. “I’m glad Bill (Mars) is going to try and do good again. Best of luck to all the winners.”
Luce declined to comment Tuesday night. His term on the council will end in December. He has been a lightning rod on the council, often clashing with other council members and city officials.
Many saw this election as a referendum on using taxpayer subsidies to help fund new housing and retail developments.
Earlier this year, the Shakopee City Council made a series of moves to approve a $33 million tax increment financing plan for Canterbury Commons, a $400 million retail, entertainment and housing development planned adjacent to Canterbury Park. The TIF plan allows future property taxes generated by the development to finance public improvements related to the projects.
Ditto criticized Mars during the campaign for championing the project; he contended developers should pay for necessary roads and other public improvements as part of their investment. While Ditto is not anti-growth, he believes it should be propelled by the free market without public subsidies.
Mars received 2,270 votes in the 2015 election. Since then, the Shakopee City Council opted to change municipal election years to even years and lengthen mayoral terms from two years to four years.