Primary delivers a few twists

Sept. 15, 2008

By Lynda Jensen

Although local voters had few true races on the primary ballot Tuesday, voters in the area managed to knock out a few candidates in the fall election. The primary ballot featured mainly high profile senate and congressional races, with a few county commissioner seats mixed in.

Coincidentally, filing for city council and school board ended on the same day as the primary races (see separate article).

In Wright County, former Delano mayor Jon Steinmetz was eliminated from the fall ballot for county commissioner in District 1 (the seat being served by Jack Russek of Delano). Also in Wright County, two candidates emerged from a long list of seven candidates, with Annandale Mayor Sam Harmoning and Rose Thelen of Clearwater to be placed on the fall ballot.

In McLeod County, the seat being vacated by Chairman Grant Knutson also featured a bit of action, with former county administrator Nan Crary trailing last in a race of six. Previously, Crary was fired by the very board she was running for.

For a precinct breakdown of the tight Wright and McLeod commissioner races, click here.

Wright County

Two county commissioner seats are open in Wright County this year, the position currently served by Jack Russek of Delano (District 3), and the position served by Karla Heeter of Silver Creek Township, which is District 1 (primarily the Annandale area). Heeter did not re-file and took a job elsewhere.

Two candidates emerged from the primary election for Heeter’s seat – Annandale Mayor Sam Harmoning and Rose Thelen of Clearwater – beating opponents Gibby Giebenhain of Maple Lake, Chris Klein of Maple Lake, Dan Snabb of Annandale, Trish Taylor of Annandale, and Teri Lachermeier of Buffalo.

Three candidates also filed for the commissioner seat served by Russek in District 3, Russek, Matt Walker of Buffalo, and Steinmetz. Of the three, Walker and Russek emerged from the primary; which effectively left out Steinmetz.

McLeod County

Another seat in the primary was the commissioner seat of District 3 in McLeod County, which is being vacated by Chairman Grant Knutson, who was at the center of a controversial firing of former longtime county administrator Nan Crary.

The primary pared back six candidates down to two, with Paul Wright of Hutchinson and Becky Felling of Hutchinson emerging as winners in the primary.

Other candidates were all from Hutchinson as well, which is where 80 percent of ballots came from: Doug Kenning, Leroy Schmandt, Doug Kenning and Marty Martin.

Two other commissioner seats up in the fall for McLeod include the seat served by Ray Bayerl in District 1, and the seat served by Bev Wangerin in District 5, with Wangerin being challenged by Milan Plath of Hutchinson. Bayerl is running unopposed.

State representative seats open in the fall as well

This year also features state representative seats open.

For state representative in District 18A, DFLer Eric Angvall of Lester Prairie is challenging incumbent Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake. District 18A includes all of McLeod County, plus Collinwood Township, Cedar Mills, and Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County.

In District 18B, Democrat David Detert of Litchfield is challenging incumbent Dean Urdahl of Grove City. District 18B includes the cities of Annandale, Cokato, Howard Lake, and South Haven, and the townships of Cokato, Corinna, French Lake, Middleville, Stockholm, and Southside in Wright County, and extends west into Meeker County.

Congressional seats open

Two congressional seats that represent the area are up for election, those served by Michele Bachmann (District 6), and and Collin Peterson (District 7).

For District 7, Republican Glen Menze of Starbuck is challenging Peterson. Menze narrowly edged out a Republican rival, Alan Roebke of Alexandria, during the primary Tuesday. District 7 encompasses a huge chunk of area that is west of the Twin Cities. At its eastern end, it includes voters in the townships of Meeker County.

For District 6, Michele Bachmann easily defeated Republican challenger Aubrey Immelman of Sartell in the primary. Bachmann will face off with Democrat El Tinklenberg in the fall. US District 6 includes a huge chunk of area that is northwest of the Twin Cities. At its southern end, it includes the townships of Cokato, Middleville, Marysville, Stockholm, Victor and Woodland; and the cities of Howard Lake, Waverly, Montrose, and Cokato.

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