Herald JournalHerald and Journal, Nov. 4, 2002

It's time to vote in an unusual election year

By Lynda Jensen

"Unusual" could be used to sum up this year's election for local voters.

Among the out-of-the-ordinary events include a missing DFL candidate, bitter division among the Wright County Republicans, and the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. statewide.

For the larger races, two online voters' guides are linked from www.herald-journal.com for readers who wish to learn more about the candidates.

The missing DFLer

An unusual twist in this year's election was the disappearance of candidate Sheila Sudbeck of Winsted in the race against incumbent Republican Steve Dille.

Sudbeck's name will appear on the ballot, but she moved out of state shortly after filing for the race, making her ineligible for the position.

Her lapse leaves two candidates in the state senate race, Dille and Paul Murray of Dassel, who is running on behalf of the Constitution Party.

Several local battles

Area battles include deep division in Wright County about two Republican candidates for District 19B state representative.

Previously, Dick Borrell received the Republican endorsement, but this was withdrawn following publication in the Star Tribune of sexual misconduct 15 years ago.

A write-in campaign was then launched for Darren Knight who had lost by a slim margin to Borrell in the primary.

The Wright County Republican leadership met again recently to vote again about the withdrawal of support for Borrell ­ with the withdrawal of support being re-affirmed two-to-one ­ contrary to information in a release by Borrell campaign supporters last week.

Both men are facing DFL opponent Lori Schmidt of Otsego in the race for District 19B.

In the District 18A state representative race, incumbent Tony Kielkucki is being challenged by Lowell Ueland.

Another race attracting attention are the Wright County Sheriff's race, with contender Lenny Walker making an aggressive challenge to incumbent Gary Miller.

Redistricting

Redistricting is also causing extra turmoil, since new division lines severely carved up the Howard Lake and Waverly areas.

Division lines re-drawing districts caused neighbors who previously had politicians in common to have different representation now.

For example, a half-mile near Little Waverly Lake is where three state representative districts converge.

Theoretically, a person could stand at that spot, and be touching three different districts where the townships meet, Marysville (now being represented by District 19A), Middleville by District 18B ­ and Victor Township in District 19B.

Voters in the City of Howard Lake will choose among candidates for District 18B, which includes a large sections of what used to be Rep. Bob Ness' territory in what was formerly known as District 20A.

This leaves the cities of Waverly and Montrose, as well as the townships of Victor and Woodland, located inside a newly formed district, District 19B ­ the focus of the fierce battle among Borrell, Knight and Schmidt.

Another example is that the three counties, McLeod, Wright, and Carver, are all in different congressional districts. There is a point just northeast of Winsted where the three districts converge.

· District 7, which includes Winsted and Lester Prairie, extends far into northwestern Minnesota.

· District 6 includes Howard Lake, Waverly, Montrose, and the area generally toward St. Cloud.

· District 2 is largely the Twin Cities area, but reaches as far as Hollywood Township just outside of Winsted.

Wellstone's death

Topping off the unusual political season is the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, which will cause many absentee voters in Wright County to make arrangements for substitute ballots (see inside for details).

Absentee ballots are popular in Wright County, with already 800 being cast before the news of Wellstone's death was known.

Walter Mondale will take Wellstone's place, running against Republican Norm Coleman.

Council, mayor races

In Winsted, three people filed for the two available council seats ­ Tom Wiemiller, Dave Mochinski, and Gerald Boldt. Wiemiller is an incumbent. The other incumbent, Gary Lenz, did not file.

Winsted Mayor Don Guggemos is unopposed in seeking re-election.

In Lester Prairie, three people are seeking two available four-year city council seats: Larry Hoof, Rollie Bruckschen, and Jeff Hecksel. Hoof and Bruckschen are incumbents.

There is also a two-year council position available in Lester Prairie, with Michele Anderson vying for this spot.

Mayor Eric Angvall is also unopposed for retaining his position.

In Howard Lake, four people filed for two available council seats, Terry Ostgulen, Vern Kleve, incumbent Shelly Reddemann, and Jean Schmidt. Incumbent John Swanson did not file.

In Waverly, three people are seeking two council positions, incumbent Pam Henry-Neaton, Ken Antil, and Chris Halvorson. The other incumbent, John Hertzog, did not file.

In Montrose, five candidates are vying for two available seats, Doreen Outly, Sharon Knodel, incumbent Doug Block, incumbent Jeff Mattson, and Roy Henry, Sr.

The Montrose mayor position, held by Charlie Nelson (who is running for a Wright County commissioner seat), is not up this year, being a four-year position (it's usually only two in other towns).

There are two people vying for the District 5 county commissioner seat, incumbent Dick Mattson and Charlie Nelson of Montrose.

The District 3 commissioner position, which recently added Waverly to its area, features incumbent Jack Russek, with no contenders.


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