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For DFLers, showing up made a difference

At Tuesday's precinct caucuses, DFLers rewarded the governor candidates who had visited the district with straw poll votes.

According to DFL organizer Diane Leaders, Tom Bakk got the most straw poll votes in Wadena County with 24, followed by Tom Rukavina with 15.

That runs contrary to statewide results, which showed legislator Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as clear winners, with 20 and 22 percent respectively. The next largest vote-getter statewide was "uncommitted."

"We had two events, this summer and in December, and Tom Bakk was there, Steve Kelly, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen," Leaders said.

While Bakk and Rukavina were paid dividends for their visits, the others didn't fare quite as well. Anderson Kelliher had two straw poll votes in Wadena County. Kelley had four. John Marty had one. Thissen had none. Rybak gathered seven votes without a district visit. Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton asked not to be included on the ballot for straw polls.

While no local results were available from GOP straw poll voters in Wadena County at press time, that field showed a dramatic narrowing statewide. Marty Seifert gathered more than 50 percent of the vote unofficially, and is challenged by Tom Emmer's 39.4 percent. No other candidate was in double digits.

Statewide, Independence party straw poll voters preferred Tom Horner, who received 48.09 percent of ballots cast.