Thayer takes At-Large race, Rivera retains Ward 4 seat on Bemidji City Council

Audrey Thayer received the most votes in the council's At-Large race, with Emelie Rivera coming out on top in the race for Ward 4. Josh Peterson has also been reelected to represent Ward 2, after running unopposed.

City Council winners.jpg
Audrey Thayer has taken the At-Large race with Emilie Rivera retaining her Ward 4 seat on the Bemidji City Council.
Pioneer file photo
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BEMIDJI — The unofficial results for the Bemidji City Council races are in.

Audrey Thayer won a narrow victory Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the council's At-Large seat, with Emilie Rivera coming out on top in the race for Ward 4. Josh Peterson has also been reelected to represent Ward 2, after running unopposed.


Thayer beat out Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson, receiving 50.15% of the vote, or 2,346 votes, compared to Johnson’s 2,293. A mere difference of 53 votes.

Thayer, who has been on the council representing Ward 1 since she was first elected in 2020, is an instructor at Leech Lake Tribal University and a member of White Earth Nation.

Now she will take over the At-Large seat from current representative Daniel Jourdain, who ran for reelection but did not make it through the primaries in August.


“My decision was to run so I could serve the entire city,” Thayer said. “I believe that our responsibility is to work hard and be visible, not just on council nights and votes, but actually being in the community and listening.”

Since taking over the At-Large seat means that Thayer will vacate her Ward 1 seat for her term’s remaining two years, a special election will have to be held to find a new Ward 1 representative for the city council.

Ward 4

Incumbent Rivera has emerged as the unofficial winner for the Ward 4 council seat with 53.78% of the vote, beating challenger David Hoefer 505 to 431 votes.

First elected to the council in 2018, Rivera is a paralegal at a local private law firm and also serves on the state guardian ad litem board.

During her time on the council, she has been a part of several committees and helped create the Police Advisory Commission and the Sustainability Commission.

“I wanted to provide a perspective that I didn’t necessarily hear when I was running for office the first time,” Rivera said. “Now that those voices are coming forward I really want to continue to amplify that.”

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