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Paynesville Press - Sept.18,2002

Primary results set ballot for November

By Bonnie Jo Hanson and Michael Jacobson

Primary Volting Results

Winners in local races in the state-wide primary held on Tuesday, Sept. 10, include: Paul Ellering, who won the Independence Party primary for House District 13A; Dean Urdahl, the endorsed Republican candidate in House District 18B; and two candidates in each of the contested county races, who will now advance to face each other in the general election in November.

One surprise was in the race for Stearns County Attorney, where Roger Van Heel, who has served in that capacity, was beaten by two challengers. Van Heel, who finished third, fails to advance to the November ballot, meaning his near three-decade tenure as county attorney appears finished.

Beating Van Heel were Janelle Kendall and Mary Yunker. Kendall was the leading vote-getter with 4,979, followed by Yunker with 4,063, while Van Heel trailed by more than a thousand votes at 2,995.

Kendall has served as the Mille Lacs County Attorney for the past three years and was the city prosecutor for several cities before that. Yunker has worked in the Stearns County Attorney's Office for the past 16 years and is now the chief of the criminal prosecution division.

In House District 13A, Ellering a former professional wrestler who now raises turkeys and sled dogs on a farm near Grey Eagle beat the Independence Party's endorsed candidate, Anton Massman, 27-7. Ellering will face DFL candidate Bruce Schuck and Republican candidate Bud Heidgerken in the November election.

Massman, a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, has been on active duty for the several months. House District 13A is an open seat created by the redistricting this year. It includes western Stearns County, northern Kandiyohi County, and all of Pope County.

In House District 18B, Urdahl, the endorsed candidate, beat David Detert, 1,507-1,215. Urdahl, a teacher and coach in the New London-Spicer School District who lives in Meeker County, will oppose DFLer Mari Pokornowski in the general election.

House District 18B includes most of Meeker County as well as parts of Wright County. Incumbent Bob Ness (R-Dassel) retired and did not file for re-election.

In other county races, former Rockville mayor Vince Schaefer and former state representative Steve Dehler will face each other in the race for Stearns County Commis-sioner in District 3, which includes Eden Lake Township and Munson Township. Incumbent Rose Arnold has retired from this office.

Schaefer, a Rockville native who has 21 years experience with city government, was the top vote-getter in the eight-person race with 868. Dehler, who lives in Holdingford and has 10 years experience as a state legislator, was second with 435, edging Chad Middendorf of Cold Spring (394 votes) and Jim Wirz of Watkins (386 votes).

Diane Grundhoefer and Joanie Rothstein will vie for the position of Stearns County Recorder in November, with one of them likely to replace the retiring Pat Overman. Grundhoefer has worked in the recorder's office for the past 23 years and is currently the assistant recorder. She led in the primary with 4,934 votes,

Rothstein, who worked in the recorder's office for three years and has now worked in the Stearns County Auditor's Office for the past 15 years, was second in the four-person race with 2,854 votes.

Bidding to replace retiring Stearns County Sheriff Jim Kostreba are two law enforcement veterans. The top vote-getter in the primary for sheriff was John Sanner, an 18-year veteran of the department and currently a captain. Sanner got 4,851 votes.

In November, he will face James McDermott, the chief of police in Waite Park, who was second with 3,234 votes. McDermott previously worked for the Dade County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department.

McDermott beat T.J. DesMarais, a 22-year veteran of the Stearns County Sheriff's Department, by 700 votes for the second spot on the November ballot.

In Kandiyohi County, the only primary race was for sheriff, where Dan Hartog and Rick Kleinschmidt will bid to replace Don Kujawa.

Hartog, the current chief deputy, has served in the sheriff's department for over 20 years. He led in the primary with 3,239 votes.

Kleinschmidt, a member of the Willmar Police Department, has 27 years of law enforcement experience. He currently is patrol supervisor and was next with 2,017 votes. Third was Daniel Burns, an 18-year veteran of the sheriff's department, with 1,135 votes.

Voter turnout for the primary election was in the teens. In the city of Paynesville, 173 people voted in the primary out of 1,385 registered voters (12.5 percent). In Paynesville Township, the turnout was13.5 percent (129 out of 964).

The city of Regal had the highest percentage turnout for the primary, with 17 voters out of 31 registered voters, nearly 55 percent.

The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Look for continuing election coverage in the Press in the coming weeks.

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