Weather Forecast


The numbers are in

About one in five registered voters in Wadena County weighed in on Tuesday's primary elections for county, state and federal offices.

County commissioner race

Sheldon Monson and Ron Noon will advance to the general election to compete for the open spot for County Commissioner District 1.

Three precincts were in the contest. Monson took 118 votes (40.55 percent), Noon took 110 votes (37.8 percent) and Les Thorstenson took 63 votes (21.65 percent), according to the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Noon had the plurality of votes in Leaf River Township and Wadena Precinct 1, while Monson had the plurality of votes in the more heavily participating Wadena Township.

For County Commissioner District 2, incumbent Ralph Miller took a slight majority of votes, and Jim Hofer will also advance to the general election.

Six precincts were in the contest. Miller took 284 votes (50.53 percent), Hofer took 225 votes (40.04 percent) and Richard R. Sorgert took 53 votes (9.43 percent).

Local comparisons to state and federal results

The GOP State Representative District 2B challenger slot went to Steve Green with 790 (53.45 percent) votes over David Collins with 688 (46.55 percent). However, voters in northern Wadena County slightly preferred Collins over Green, 52 to 50.

Bob Cunniff won in a landslide over Bruce Campbell as the DFL State Representative District 8B challenger, both district-wide (75.82 percent) and in Otter Tail County (67.46 percent).

Richard Nolan won the DFL primary for U.S. Representative District 8 with 38.30 percent of votes district-wide, and was strongly preferred in Wadena County, where he took more than half of the votes with 286 (51.25 percent).

Kurt Bills won the GOP primary for U.S. Senate and also had the plurality of votes in Wadena County at 377 (47.33 percent).

In the four-way DFL primary for U.S. Senate, incumbent Amy Klobuchar won by a landslide for both Wadena County and Minnesota overall.

In the two-way Independence primary, Stephen Williams won over Glen Menze by a comfortable margin. In Wadena County, Williams edged out Menze by one vote - 22 to 21.

In judicial elections, statewide second place winner Tim Tingelstad was the Wadena County favorite for Associate Justice-Supreme Court 4 with 526 votes (39.85 percent). The statewide favorite, incumbent David R. Stras, was second in Wadena County. Third place candidate Alan Nelson will not go on to the general election.

For the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, statewide top two candidates, incumbent Lorie Skjerven Gildea and Dan Griffith, will face each other in the general election. Third place candidate Jill Clark was eliminated from the running. Results were similar in Wadena County, with Gildea, Griffith and Clark preferred in that order.

Wadena County voting patterns

Rosalie Miller, Wadena County election coordinator, said the county's turnout was low but typical of a primary election, and possibly better than the statewide pattern.

Miller said the Secretary of State was estimating about a 15 percent turnout in Minnesota overall.

"We had a little over 21 percent," Miller said.

Miller said the Verndale School bond issue probably contributed to the relatively strong turnout in the county.

According to the Secretary of State website, 7,559 people were pre-registered, 102 people registered on the day of the election and an estimated 1,621 people voted.

Wadena County precincts with the highest turnout were City of Verndale (63.1 percent), Aldrich Township (52.3 percent), City of Aldrich (50 percent), Wing River Township (39.9 percent), Thomastown Township (32.5 percent) and Bullard Township (31.3 percent).

More people in Wadena County chose from Republican candidates than Democratic candidates. For Congressional District 8, 764 people voted for incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack, while 558 chose from the three DFL candidates.

For the U.S. Senate spot, 712 people chose from three GOP candidates, while 581 chose from four DFL candidates and 43 people chose between two Independence candidates.

Miller said a bigger crowd would show up at the November general elections. They have had up to 88 percent turnout during presidential contests.

For voters not already registered, Miller said the pre-registration deadline is Oct. 16, 20 days before the general election. If the deadline is missed, voters will need to register on the spot Nov. 6.

Absentee ballots for the general election will be available Sept. 21.

Browne, Niles leave two council seats up for grabs

While municipal offices were not part of the primary election, filings had a Tuesday deadline with the option for candidates to back out through Thursday.

Three people filed for two open Wadena City Council seats to be vacated by Don Niles, who is running for state representative, and Kay Browne, who decided not to seek re-election.

Browne was first elected in 2004, and is finishing her second term.

"I decided it would be time for some new leaders to have opportunities," she said. "I've enjoyed serving, I've enjoyed working with the staff and with the council...we've gotten a lot of wonderful projects done."

Niles, who was first elected in 2008, said he obviously can't run for two offices in 2012.

Brian Hillesland, Gillette Kempf and Pete Phillips will run in the general election, with the top two to be elected to four-year terms on the city council.

Two people filed for the two-year mayor's office: Michael Burcham and incumbent Wayne Wolden.