A small town in Ohio may soon be trading one Krumnow for another, as the mayor is being challenged by his younger brother, a city councilman.
Lowell Krumnow, 54, who has been mayor of the Village of Elmore since 1992, is being challenged by his older brother, James “Jim” Krumnow, 58, in the city’s non-partisan election November 8.
According to village councilperson Rick Claar, Lowell Krumnow served on the village council from 1982 until 1992, ultimately becoming its chairman. In 1992, he was appointed Mayor after the incumbent resigned his seat to move to a neighboring town.
Lowell’s brother, Jim, was elected to the village council in 2002, essentially to “cancel out” what his brother was doing, Claar said.
“They are polar opposites, Jim and Lowell,” Claar said. “Jim hates politics, and the only reason he got into the council was to counteract what his brother was doing.”
According to Claar, Lowell has been a major supported of industry recruitment and infrastructure upgrades. Lowell has said he supports installing a new $1 million power substation to prevent outages and increase power output to help recruit industry. The town suffered a major power outage recently, and the subsystem is necessary to keep up with population and business growth, Lowell says.
The city is also facing an almost assuredly mandatory sewer and waste-water plant system upgrade, and Lowell’s plan is to join the city’s own 4 water wells with a nearby water system. The total cost of the regional water system upgrade would cost about $4 million–a plan to Jim is vehemently opposing.
“With Lowell’s push to get more business here, we have a problem with some of our water treatment as far as how we can serve some of the new businesses coming to the area,” Claar said. “Lowell really wants to get some new business in here, and Jim is saying we don’t need any of that stuff. If people want to keep our rural atmosphere then we don’t need water systems, we don’t need to spend the money on that substation.”
Lowell is also working with the council and neighboring city and county governments to develop a Joint Economic Development District, another proposal his brother is fighting tooth and nail.
“Jim doesn’t want anything to do with it because he things this whole area should stay as it is: lots of farm land,” Claar said.
While the two brothers have remained “mostly civil,” Claar said, it is clear that the gloves are off in this political street fight to govern a village of no more than 1,400.
“It’s been kind of fun, seeing all the attention going on about this rivalry,” Claar said. “They really haven’t gone at each other too much, they’ve been pretty civil.”
Even so, Claar and other media outlets report the relationship between the two brothers can be described as “distant.” Even though they live less than five doors down, the two communicate through others, and when in public together rarely speak to one another.
Lowell, who has served for almost 30 years in village government, seems confident about his chances of re-election. But Claar and others in town have warned him not to declare victory just yet.
“When you serve that long, you’re bound to end up making someone mad,” Claar said. “And from my standpoint, everybody is trying to embrace what Jim is wanting to do: expand.”
The two even differ on one of the town’s highlight events: motor casket racing. Each year near Halloween, village citizens attach caskets to motorized chassis and race them around the town. The tradition, started by Lowell some years ago, is unpopular with his older brother.
“Jim’s not really keen on it,” Claar said.