Following the Aug. 11 Primary election and the closing of the local candidate filing period on that same date, local voters now know who will be on their ballots for federal and local positions on Nov. 3.
Every voter in Minnesota will see one U.S. Senate race on their ballots. Incumbent Tina Smith, who was first appointed to a seat vacated by Al Franken and then won the right to complete that seat’s term in November of 2018, easily won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary with 497,628 votes, or 87.13%. Smith will now seek her first full term in the U.S. Senate. The remainder of the votes were split between four challengers, with Paula Overby having the next most at 30,508.
Smith’s Republican challenger will be former U.S. Representative Jason Lewis, who claimed 191,617 votes, or 78.1%, in the GOP primary. Also facing four other challengers, his closest competition was Cynthia Gail at 17,713.
Kevin O’Connor was selected to represent the Legal Marijuana Now Party, while Oliver Steinberg will carry the banner of the Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis Party. Both ran unopposed.
The primaries for the major party nominations for area U.S. Congressional seats went as most observers predicted. In the Third District, DFL incumbent Dean Phillips garnered 67,872 votes to easily out-pace challenger Cole Young (6,782). GOP favorite Kendall Qualls defeated challenger Leslie Davis, 24,449 to 7,774, setting up the expected Phillips vs. Qualls contest for November.
In the Sixth District, GOP incumbent Tom Emmer easily held off Patrick Munro, 30,654 to 4,518. DFL candidate Tawnja Zahradka was unopposed.
In the DFL primary for State Senate District 34, Bonnie Westlin won over Aarica Coleman, 5,278 to 1,962. GOP incumbent Warren Limmer was unopposed.
A primary was also held to determine two finalists for the District 7 seat on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. Kevin Anderson (11,178) and Danny Nadeau (7,705) advanced to the general election ballot while Kim Zellers (7,021) was eliminated from contention. District 7 represents the rural northwestern section of Hennepin County, including all the areas of that county covered by this newspaper.
In a primary for the Wright County Board of Commissioners, District 4 seat, Mary Wetter (848) and incumbent Michael Potter (565) moved forward to the general election while Scott Yelle (396) was eliminated. District 4 covers all of this newspaper’s coverage areas in Wright County except for St. Michael Precinct 1B, which is in District 3. The District 3 seat is not up for election this year; incumbent Mark Daleiden’s current term does not expire until 2022.
would-be mayors, councilors file
Aug. 11 also marked the end of the local candidate filing period. Final filing reports now reveal the contenders for various local positions, as follows.
Albertville will not see much drama in 2020, since only the incumbents have filed for the open positions. Mayor Jillian Hendrickson, and council members Aaron Cocking and Walter Hudson are the only filees for a two-year term as mayor and two seats opening for a four-year term on the council.
In Corcoran, incumbent mayor Ron Thomas will face off against challenger Tom McKee. For two scheduled open seats on the city council, the candidates will be incumbent Jon Bottema and new challengers George Gmach and Manoj Mathew Thomas. There will also be a special election to fill a seat currently occupied by Tom Anderson. Brian Lother, a council member in a different seat expiring this year, is running for the special election seat, as is Jeremy Nichols.
In Hanover, Chris Kauffman will run unopposed for a third four-year term as mayor. For two city council seats in play, incumbent MaryAnn Hallstein will be joined on the ballot by four other candidates, Tom Dierberger, Tim Filzen, Chad Grimmer and Ed Hunter. Doug Hammerseng, the other incumbent whose term expires this year, did not file to run.
Kent Koch, mayor and town ball player for Loretto, is unopposed for another two-year term at the head of the local government table. Three candidates will square off for two openings on the city council: incumbent Melissa Markham, Gregory Elsen and Jessa Ford.
In Medina, incumbent mayor Kathleen Martin is the only candidate to file for that seat. Four candidates will be running for two spots on the city council, including Joseph Cavanuagh, Peter Galzki, Robin Reid and Stacia Whelan.
In Rockford, mayors serve four years. Incumbent Renee Hafften will seek another term and will face a challenge from Michael Beyer. Three candidates will seek two city council seats coming open this year, incumbents Rick Martinson and Scott Seymour, and new challenger Denise Willenbring.
Rogers mayor Rick Ihli has filed to run for another two-year term and will compete with challenger Gregory Bownik. Four candidates have filed to run for two city council seats, including current council member Shannon Klick. Also seeking a seat will be Daniel Bownik, Greg Hoseth and Kevin Jullie.
Current St. Michael mayor Kevin Kasel recently announced that he has accepted a new job that will take him out of state, so he will not be running or another two-year term. Instead, St. Michael residents will choose between two current city council members, Keith Wettschreck and Nadine Schoen, who both filed for a shot at the mayor’s seat. Wettschreck’s run is the riskier, since the term on his council seat is expiring whereas Schoen’s is not. Six names will appear on the ballot for two city council seats. Incumbent and former Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty is among them, along with new challengers Troy Elie, Cody Gulick, Tom Hamilton, Sara Murto and Greg Zahler.
Only one school board election impacting local students will be competitive. The race for four seats on the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School Board saw nine candidates throw their hats in the ring for four open seats. In alphabetical order, the candidates are Adam Bjorklund, Melissa Brings, David Casey, Eric Ellwoods, Bradley Elo, Amanda Lawrence, Susan Lee, Stan Vander Kool and David Wilson.
The Rockford School Board election will be drama-free, with three candidates filed for three seats. Amy Edwards, Jessica Johnson and Jenny Kneeland have filed.
The same is true for the St. Michael-Albertville School Board. Kari Dwinnell, Hollee Saville and Drew Scherber have filed for three seats.
ISD 728, which covers Rogers alongside Elk River, Zimmerman and Otsego, is another case of three-for-three: Joel Nelson, Holly Thompson and Christi Tullbane are on the ballot.