Lee wins commissioner

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tony Pestorious and his wife, Vicki, talk with Mike Lee and his wife, Renee, after the election results were tallied Tuesday night at the Freeborn County Courthouse. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

After knocking on thousands of doors since November, Mike Lee won the Freeborn County Commissioner District 5 seat.

Lee defeated Tony Pestorious in the general election Tuesday on a vote of 355 to 259.

“I’d like to congratulate Tony for running a clean campaign,” said Lee. “Thanks to everyone who got out and voted, not just for me, but for either of us by exercising their right to vote.”

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Pestorious and Lee were both at the Freeborn County Courthouse on Tuesday night, waiting on the final tallies, with family members in tow. They looked at the final election results together outside of the Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office when the final tallies were shared around 9:30 p.m., shaking hands and hugging each other.

Pestorious wasn’t upset with the outcome.

Tony Pestorious, left, and Mike Lee, right, look over election results together Tuesday night. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

“I’m pleased with the campaign and did everything to the best of my ability,” he said. “I was proud of how everything went down. There was no name calling, and we stuck to the issues.”

Lee, 55, is a resident of Albert Lea’s 6th Ward. He works as a personal care attendant with Helping Hands of Minnesota and as a residential instructor with Elm Homes. This is the second time he’s run for the position of 5th District commissioner.

Lee ran on the platform of more jobs, replacing the Shell Rock River dam and keeping roads and bridges safe. He also tried to find out what issues were important to the people in the 5th District, knocking on 5,540 doors all together since November.

Pestorious, 55, is employed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a fifth-generation member of his family to live in Pickerel Lake Township. He knocked on every door except about 100 in the Pickerel Lake Township and Albert Lea’s 3rd and 6th Wards.

Pestorious stressed the importance of keeping spending down to keep taxes down during his campaign. His campaign promise to voters was that he would go line by line through the county budget to see what cuts could be made.

According to Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer Dennis Distad, Lee can take office as soon as the Canvassing Board meets to certify the votes, which will be Friday at 10 a.m.

Tony and Vicki Pestorious looked over the results of the Pickerel Lake Township votes Tuesday night in the Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer's Office. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

Lee said the first thing he plans to do when taking the seat is meeting with Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever to get up to speed on all of the issues.

While Pestorious said at this time, he doesn’t plan to make yet a third run for the seat when it comes up for re-election in 2012, only time will tell.

“I don’t think Mike will do a bad job; we just have different views,” said Pestorious.

Lee and Pestorious both ran for the 5th District seat in 2008. In that election, former Commissioner Linda Tuttle defeated Lee in the general election on a vote of 1,752 to 1,548.

Tuttle then vacated the seat on Aug. 1, 2010, facing theft and racketeering charges stemming from her business.

In the primary election on Jan. 18, Lee had the most votes cast in the primary with 230 votes, followed by Pestorious with 112 votes.

District 5 results
Candidate: Lee Pestorious Totals
Pickerel Lake Township: 44 78 122
Albert Lea Ward: 3 154 136 290
Albert Lea Ward: 6 157 45 202
Totals: 355 259 614