Herald JournalHerald and Journal, Nov. 11, 2002

Roundup of area elections

By Lynda Jensen

Two tight local races revealed divided loyalties from local precincts according to Tuesday's election results.

A sharp contest between incumbent Gary Miller and challenger Lenny Walker resulted in Miller being re-elected by a margin of 14 percent countywide.

Locally, the race divided precincts with Walker carrying the cities of Howard Lake and Montrose, and Miller claiming victories in all the other precincts ­ but with a margin of less than 10 percent in each precinct, showing how close the race was.

A total of 23,770 votes were cast for Miller, and 18,131 for Walker, countywide.

In other contests, Republican Dick Borrell managed to claim victory for the state representative District 19B seat despite deep division among Wright County Republicans over his candidacy.

Borrell garnered 8,367 votes compared to DFLer Lori Schmidt's total of 7,914, according to the county auditor.

Write-in Republican candidate Darren Knight, who challenged Borrell on the Republican ticket, garnered a total of 1,721, or about 10 percent of the total for District 19B.

Borrell narrowly carried the precincts of Waverly, Woodland Township and Victor Township, but did not carry the City of Montrose.

The precincts of Waverly and Woodland Township registered zero write-in votes for Knight.

Republican Bruce Anderson successfully was elected to a new seat in District 19A, which occurred due to redistricting.

Previously, Anderson served the District 19B seat won by Borrell. Anderson was staunchly against the Borrell candidacy.

Mattson reclaims his commissioner seat

Dick Mattson also reclaimed his District 5 county commissioner seat, winning by a margin of 17 percent, with 4,219 votes, compared to challenger Charlie Nelson's 3,021 votes for District 5.

Mattson claimed larger victories in the neighboring townships, with a wider spread in Marysville, Middleville and Victor; and tighter results in the cities of Howard Lake and Montrose ­ winning by a margin of seven and 12 percent respectively in those cities.

It is noteworthy that Mattson won Montrose in the first place, since his challenger, Nelson, presides as mayor there; however the margin was by 12 percent.

Redistricting caused the City of Waverly to be excluded out of Mattson's territory, traditionally a strong supporter of his, to a different district, since it is now represented by Jack Russek in District 3. Russek ran unopposed.

Republicans claim other close wins

Other races reflected Republican victories across Wright County, a trend that resounded also through the country.

Republicans Mark Kennedy, Dean Urdahl, Norm Coleman, and Tim Pawlenty claimed victories in all the local precincts for US representative, state representative of District 18B, US senate, and governor, respectively (see boxed area).

Predictably, incumbent Steve Dille re-claimed his seat for state senate in District 18; especially in light of the absence of his opponent, Democrat Sheila Sudbeck, who moved out of state.

Sudbeck filed for the state senate seat, and then apparently relocated back to South Dakota, according to the local DFL chair office.

This did not stop local DFLers from casting votes for the missing candidate, with 215 Howard Lake Democrats casting ballots for her, along with 100 cast in Middleville Township.

County wide, Sudbeck garnered 2,276 votes, even though she is ineligible for the seat because she lives out of state. District wide, Sudbeck garnered a total of 8,848.

Urdahl claimed comfortable victories for state representative of District 18B in the two precincts that touched his district, Howard Lake and Middleville Township.

Overall, Urdahl earned 54 percent of the total votes over his DFL opponent Mari Pokornowski, who garnered 38 percent, and Constitution Party candidate Phil Jarman, who earned 8 percent.

Republican Mark Ourada overtook Democrat John McIntosh in the race for state senator of District 19, which also reflected close margins in local precincts.

Although Ourada won handily across the county with 62 percent of total votes, at least two local precincts, Waverly and Montrose, were counted toward Ourada with a margin of just two percent.

Other precincts gave a wider margin toward Ourada, with double digit margins in Marysville, Victor, and Woodland townships.

Kielkucki re-elected easily

Tony Kielkucki easily reclaimed his seat for state representative of District 18A, with 9,097 ballots cast in his favor, or 62 percent, compared to DFLer Lowell Ueland's 5,549, or 38 percent.

Kielkucki carried all the local precincts with high vote counts in the upper 70 percent range.

See local city council vote totals

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