By Lynda Jensen
WRIGHT and MEEKER COUNTIES, MN Candidates for county, state and federal positions are stepping forward for fall elections, with the filing period closing Tuesday, June 1.
This includes three candidates so far for Meeker County sheriff, Benjamin Aho of Watkins, Mark Shoutz of Dassel, and incumbent Jeff Norlin of Litchfield.
Aho is an investigator for the Litchfield Police Department, and has worked for Meeker County in the past. He has worked on the CEE-VI Drug Task Force.
In Wright County, one has filed so far, that of Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty.
Hagerty hopes to fill the shoes of Wright County Sheriff Gary Miller, who plans to retire. Miller’s retirement will take effect when he leaves office at the end of the year.
Three-way races for county commissioner
In Meeker, a three-way race is in place so far for District 3 (Dassel, Collinwood and Ellsworth townships), served by Amy Wilde. Three have filed so far, Wilde, Tim Benoit of Dassel, and Darin Packard of Dassel.
A second county commissioner race in Meeker is for District 4 (Kingston, Watkins and Forest City area), served by Wally Strand. So far, Strand is the only one to file.
In Wright County, there will be a three-way race for the District 5 county commissioner seat (Howard Lake-Cokato and several townships), served by Dick Mattson of Buffalo.
Mattson is being challenged by two candidates, Leonard Wozniak of Cokato and Tom LaPlant of Buffalo. LaPlant has unsuccessfully challenged Mattson in the past.
State Senate District 18
For the District 18 senate seat being vacated by Steve Dille, three candidates have filed Scott Newman (R), Independence candidate Richard Hoff of Cosmos, and Hal Kimball (DFL).
Newman is an attorney from Hutchinson.
Hal Kimball of Cokato is the DFL candidate for this seat. Kimball served 11 years in the Army.
District 18 includes all of Meeker and McLeod counties, plus the following area in Wright County: the cities of Howard Lake, Cokato, and Annandale; and townships of French Lake, Middleville, South Haven, Southside, and Stockholm.
For state representatives, all of the local seats are on the fall ballot.
State Rep. District 18A
The seat for District 18A, served by Ron Shimanski, is also on the fall ballot.
Shimanski, a farmer from Silver Lake, has filed.
No DFL candidate has been endorsed, or filed yet, for the District 18A seat.
District 18A includes all of McLeod County, plus Collinwood Township, Cedar Mills, and Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County.
State Rep. District 18B
The position for state representative in District 18B, served by Dean Urdahl, will be placed on the fall ballot. in the fall.
So far, two have filed: Urdahl, a history teacher and coach for the New London-Spicer School District, and DFL candidate Darrin Anderson of Litchfield.
Anderson teaches social studies in the Willmar School District and was endorsed by the Democrats in February.
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 (covering all of Meeker).
For Congress, two local seats are up this year: District 6, served by Michele Bachmann of Woodbury; and District 7, which is served by “blue dog” Democrat Collin Peterson of Detroit Lakes.
Both incumbents have refiled.
In District 6, Bachmann will face off against physician Dr. Maureen Kennedy Reed of Anoka.
US District 6 includes a huge chunk of area that is northwest of the Twin Cities. At its southern end, it includes Wright County.
There is also a race in District 7, with incumbent Collin Peterson running against Lee Byberg of Willmar.
District 7 is the largest and most rural of all the Congressional districts in Minnesota, and encompasses the northwestern portion of the state. At its eastern end, it includes all of McLeod and Meeker counties.
Candidates listed are those who have registered as of Wednesday. Filing ends June 1. It should be noted that the filing period for city and school board elections isn’t until August.