By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
While the nation watched the votes roll in for the presidential race and continued to be on edge for a few days after Nov. 3, Houston County finished its reporting half an hour later on Nov. 4.
The unofficial report was generated at 12:30 a.m., quite a bit later than previous years. County Auditor-Treasurer Donna Trehus said election night went “tremendously well.” They encountered no issues with reporting results or counting ballots.
She added they allowed the “write-in tapes to print,” which took a while and that was the hold up in uploading results.
Houston County voters cast 11,488 votes out of its 12,415 registered voters, making for a 92.53% voter turnout.
On a broader scale, Houston County went red in the presidential election, with 6,332 votes cast for Donald Trump and 4,851 votes for Joe Biden. Biden won Minnesota’s electoral votes in the race.
The county was also red for U.S. Senator candidate Jason Lewis, with 5,774 votes, but Democrat Tina Smith won that seat for the state.
More regionally, Republican incumbent Jim Hagedorn won Houston County with 5,429 votes, just 311 votes above Democratic challenger Dan Feehan. Hagedorn won re-election in Minnesota’s Congressional District 1.
Speaking more locally, State Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) kept his seat with 6,730 votes over Sarah Kruger’s 4,483 votes earned in Houston County. At one point in the race, they were four votes apart, but Miller eventually pulled ahead with Houston and Fillmore counties. Collectively, Miller tallied 24,354 votes to Kruger’s 17,913.
In the state representative race, incumbent Greg Davids (R-Preston) renewed his spot as representative for District 28B with 6,762 votes in Houston County, over Jordan Fontenello’s 4,362 votes.
Now specifically speaking about Houston County, Dewey Severson won the District 1 commissioner race over Scott Yeiter, while Robert Burns and Greg Myhre ran unopposed. Severson gained 1,459 votes while Yeiter had 876.
In Hokah, Mayor Mike Walsh was unseated by Lee Tippery and by a difference of six votes. Tippery earned 157 votes to Walsh’s 151. Four write-in votes were counted.
Hokah council members Jerry Martell, Cindy Pfiffner and Tom Oldenburg were all re-elected, running unopposed.
In Spring Grove, Scott Solberg won the mayor’s race, unopposed, while council member Travis Torgerson was unseated by Trent Turner. Karen Folstad was re-elected and led the votes with 445 votes, while it was a tight race with Turner and Torgerson. Turner had six more votes over Torgerson’s 331 votes. Six write-in votes were counted.
In Caledonia, Mayor DeWayne “Tank” Schroeder won his re-election with 815 votes over challenger William Gavin’s 574 votes.
In Caledonia’s council race, incumbent Randi Vick was unseated, as candidates Amanda Wray Ninneman and Robert “Bob” Klug were elected with 530 votes and 660 votes, respectively. Vick totaled 458 votes.
On the school board election for Caledonia, Daniel Small and Spencer Yohe earned their seats. A write-in candidate earned 535 votes also.
In Eitzen, Jeff Adamson retained his mayor seat, while council members Mitch Lange and Mitchel Luttchens were re-elected. All three ran unopposed.
In Brownsville, Allen Whitesitt will stay as mayor. The council race has Tim Klug and Jacob Danielson newly elected to the council. Again, all three were unopposed.
Houston’s mayor race saw David Olson elected, along with Emily Krage and Cody Mathers elected to the council. All ran unopposed.
Houston’s school board race elected Josh Norlien, Mimi Carlson and Richard Erdmann, all unopposed.
Mike Poellinger won La Crescent’s mayor race, unopposed. Dale Williams and Ryan Hutchinson won the council race, unopposed. La Crescent-Hokah School District elected April Carlson, Jeffrey Conway, Eric Morken and Christine Alioto to the board.
These results have not yet been canvassed and are considered preliminary or unofficial until each precinct holds a meeting to canvass the votes.