Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
A glimpse of the fall ballot
May 10, 2010
The filing period officially opens soon

The filing period is from 8 a.m., Tuesday, May 18, to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 1. (Note that filing offices will be closed Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day.)

By Lynda Jensen

WRIGHT, MEEKER COUNTIES, MN – When it comes to the fall ballot, several candidates have already stepped forward to announce their intentions to run for the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Across the board, retirements appear to a common theme this year, with sheriffs in Wright and Meeker retiring for this election cycle.

In addition, State Sen. Steve Dille in District 18 announced his retirement, leaving this position, traditionally held by a Republican, up for grabs.

Wright County Sheriff Gary Miller announced his retirement in March, which will end 36 years in law enforcement, of which 12 was spent as sheriff there. Miller will not run again in the fall.

Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty has launched his campaign to succeed Gary Miller as Wright County sheriff.

Hagerty, a resident of St. Michael, has served with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office since 1985 and was named chief deputy in 2006.

He has worked in the county jail and communication center and as a patrol officer and canine officer. He is also a three-term member of the St. Michael City Council.

County sheriff is up for election, which is served by Jeff Norlin, who was appointed by Mike Hirman, who retired in April.

Hirman, 60, retired in the third year of a sixth term as sheriff. He was sheriff for 22 years.

Norlin has spent 25 years with the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.

Norlin is being challenged by Mark Shoutz of Dassel, a retired officer who lives near the Lake Jennie area.

All of this adds up to a busy election season already underway in many respects, although the official filing process has yet to open.

The filing period is from 8 a.m., Tuesday, May 18, to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 1.

Wright County

In Wright County, the following county positions are up:

• County attorney, served by Tom Kelly. Kelly has announced he will run again.

• County auditor/treasurer, served by Bob Hiivala.

There are three positions up for county commissioner:

• District 5 (Howard Lake-Cokato and several townships), served by Dick Mattson of Waverly, who will run again.

Mattson is being challenged by Leonard Wozniak of Cokato. Wozniak has served for nine years as a supervisor for Stockholm Township, and 18 years as a Stockholm Township planning and zoning advisor.

• District 2 (the Monticello area), served by Pat Sawatzke, and

• District 4 (the Buffalo-St. Michael area), served by Elmer Eichelberg.

Wright County residents wishing to file for state office may file at either the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office or the Wright County auditor/treasurer’s office, Gloria Gooler said.

Gooler said is was very important to understand that if someone lives in a certain county, they should file in that county, even if the district that person is running for overlaps somewhere else.

Meeker County

In Meeker, the following county positions are up:

• County attorney, served by Stephanie Beckman.

• County auditor, served by Barbara Loch.

There are four positions up for county commissioner in Meeker. They are:

• District 1 (Litchfield), served by Jim Swenson.

• District 2 (two wards in Litchfield, Litchfield Township, Darwin), served by Dave Gabrielson.

• District 3 (Dassel, Collinwood and Ellsworth Townships), served by Amy Wilde. Wilde has said she will refile for her position.

• District 4 (Kingston, Watkins and Forest City area), served by Wally Strand.

State senate and state representatives

This year, all of the state senate and state representative seats are on the fall ballot.

District 18

The seat in District 18, served by Steve Dille of Dassel, is up. Dille has announced his retirement, saying he will not run.

Scott Newman was recently endorsed by Republicans to run for the seat in the fall. Newman is an attorney who practices in Hutchinson.

Unofficially at the Republican convention, Glencoe Mayor Randy Wilson had indicated that he would run against Newman in the primary. This appears to be up in the air yet.

Hal Kimball of Cokato will be 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.

District 18A

The seat for District 18A, served by Ron Shimanski, is also open in the fall.

Shimanski was endorsed by Republicans in March. He is a farmer, and a layout and design technician from Silver Lake.

No DFL candidate has been endorsed 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.

District 18B

The position for state representative in District 18B, served by Dean Urdahl, is also up in the fall.

Urdahl, who was endorsed by the Republican party as its candidate in March, is a book author and history teacher and coach for the New London-Spicer School District.

DFL challenger Darrin Anderson of Lichfield will take on Urdahl for District 18B. 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).

Spots open for Soil & Water Conservation

Filing will begin for soil and water supervisor positions, as well.

In Wright County, two supervisor positions are open, one in District III, which covers the Buffalo, Delano, Hanover, Montrose, Rockford, and Waverly area and another for District I, which covers the Annandale area.

In Meeker, two seats are open, that of District 3 (Ellsworth Township, Collinwood Township and Dassel Township), and District 5, (Greenleaf, Cosmos and Cedar Mills area).

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