Pressure mounts for Two Harbors mayor to resign
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Pressure mounts for Two Harbors mayor to resign

Two Harbors City Councilor Robin Glaser says it is time for the town’s mayor, Chris Swanson, to step down.

“My heart breaks for everyone in this community,” Glaser said during a special meeting of the Two Harbors City Council on Monday, June 20. “And I’m not just talking about the 3,500 people who live here, but everyone who calls Two Harbors home, or who has ever called Two Harbors home. I cannot understand why the mayor continues to put his family and our community through all of this.”

The request from Glaser and every other member of the Two Harbors City Council comes amid a flurry of ethics and other allegations related to his past and current behavior.

The city council is not alone in their belief that Swanson should resign as the embattled mayor of Two Harbors. Hundreds of Two Harbors voters signed a petition this spring to recall Swanson, with a scheduled vote that could seal his fate set for early August. It’s possible the mayor could resign beforehand if he chooses.

Swanson did not respond to an email sent June 20 from WTIP to discuss any plans for resignation.

Notably absent from Monday’s meeting was the mayor himself. The other six members of the Two Harbors City Council called the special meeting largely to discuss Swanson’s future as the mayor. After sharing sentiments about the impact that the mayor’s past and current behavior is having on the community, the council voted 6-0 asking that Swanson resign. The meeting lasted for approximately 18 minutes. The vote was largely symbolic, as the council does not have the authority to oust Swanson from his seat as mayor.

Despite an upcoming recall election in August, numerous ethical complaints directed toward him from city officials, as well as possible violations of the city’s code, a defiant Swanson said as recently as June 1 that he will not resign.

“What are the benefits, or who benefits if I get recalled?” Swanson said from behind a podium in city hall – his wife, Rebecca, standing by his side.

Swanson said those who are trying to recall him only “want things to go back to the way they were,” while explaining that the city is taking on bigger projects.

“The best is yet to come,” Swanson said. “I will not resign.”

Media across Minnesota have reported on Swanson’s antics during the first six months of 2022. WTIP first reached out to Swanson on Jan. 23 just days before he was featured in a New York Times article titled ‘The Rise of the Crypto Mayors,’ which was largely a business story featured on Swanson’s ideas for economic growth. Among the ideas that brought a swarm of media attention to Swanson and Two Harbors was a proposed underwater hotel he wanted to build in Lake Superior on the edge of Two Harbors.

WTIP’s request in January was to sit down with Swanson at Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte for an interview. Swanson responded to WTIP Jan. 24, saying: “Very flattered by your offer but I’ll have to take a rain check on that. Warm regards, Chris.”

In the months that followed, Swanson found himself under intensifying scrutiny. From questionable business dealings to violations of the city’s communications policy, the public narrative surrounding Swanson’s tenure as mayor shifted as the attention intensified.

If Swanson does not resign beforehand, the recall vote will take place Aug. 9. If the mayor is recalled, a special election will be held to find someone who will finish out his current term, set to end in January 2025.