When voters elect a candidate who isn’t running

Jeff Swenson, of St. Paul Park, is a different sort of Minnesota politician. He won an election in which he wasn’t running.

He was one of the top two finishers for Washington County Board of Commissioners even though he didn’t want to be; he’d pulled out of the race in late June, the Woodbury Bulletin says. He was looking for new work and decided he couldn’t give the Board the time it deserved.

He was at an airport in Norway when a friend texted that he won the election, in which the top two finishers move on to the general election in the non-partisan race.

Even better: When he returned home he had three job offers waiting.

He didn’t campaign at all, he said. But his name was still on the ballot.

Did the people who vote for him know he wasn’t running? Probably not.

“I think a lot of people are just like, wow, voters are dumb. But it’s not that voters are dumb. They’re trying to make decisions quickly with a minimum amount of information. And if they don’t have all the information they need, they’re going to use whatever is in front of them,” a political analyst tells the Bulletin.