Rochester Residents Elect Deceased Dennis Hanson

Posted at: 11/07/2012 5:43 PM
Updated at: 11/07/2012 6:11 PM
By: Gordon Severson

(ABC 6 News) -- Many strange and unique things can come out of elections, but in the city of Rochester, residents did something very few communities have done. They elected a deceased candidate.

Voting Dennis Hanson as their City Council President. Every sign, every banner, a memory. Memory of a man who devoted much of his life to the place he called home.

"It was very successful in our eyes," Linda Hanson says.

For the first time in Rochester history, an election for city council president yielded no results. Instead of putting a person in office, residents get the opportunity to vote again in a special election.

"He would be very happy about that," says Hanson.

"It was not a sympathy type vote. You know, win one more for Denny. It was because it was the right thing and it was what Denny would've wanted," John Eckerman says.

Eckerman, a longtime family friend, worked with the family to organize Hanson's campaign.

"It was confusing. I think people didn't realize the situation or didn't realize his name had to be on the ballot or knew that Denny died," Eckerman says.

While some may remember these unusual circumstances as the year Rochester voted in a deceased council president, Eckerman sees it as the year residents stood up for a fair election.

"I'm very confident that there'll be a number of qualified folks to pick from and that's the way Democracy works," says Eckerman.

For the family it doesn't really matter who that person is as long as the people get a fair choice in who will lead their community.

"They made it possible for it to open up and then to be able to pick a candidate. That's what our goal was," Hanson says.

Both council president candidates Jan Throndson and Jeff Thompson are eligible for the special election. Anyone else who wishes to run can also sign up.