Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - November 13, 2002

Voters favor Republicans

By Michael Jacobson

State Election Results | Voter Turnout

The Paynesville area supported victorious Republican candidates for state office at the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Senator-elect Norm Coleman and Governor-elect Tim Pawlenty, both Republicans, were supported by a majority of voters in the Paynesville area, as were state legislative candidates.

Coleman, who defeated former vice president and U.S. Senator Walter Mondale to become the next U.S. Senator for Minnesota, won the Senate election with 1,116,336 votes, compared to 1,065,022 votes for Mondale, getting 49.5 percent of the vote to 47.3 for Mondale.

In the Paynesville area, Coleman did better, percentage-wise, garnering nearly 58 percent of the votes, to only 37 percent for Mondale.

Governor-elect Pawlenty also did better in the Paynesville area than in the state as a whole. Pawlenty - who got 999,039 votes statewide, a little more than 44 percent of the votes - got nearly 52 percent of the votes cast in the Paynesville area.

Challengers Roger Moe (DFL) got 36 percent of the votes statewide (a total of 821,120) but received only 27 percent of the votes in the Paynesville area.

Independence Party candidate for governor Tim Penny did slightly better in the Paynesville area than he did statewide, getting over 17 percent of the local votes while getting only 16 percent statewide.

The Paynesville area also voted predominantly for Republican candidates for the state legislature.

Legislative Results

The Paynesville area is divided into three state Senate districts and three state House districts. Five of the six will be represented by Republicans when the Minnesota Legislature convenes again. Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) and Rep. Doug Stang (R-Cold Spring) both easily won re-election in Senate District 14 and House District 14B, which includes both the city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township. Fellow incumbent Sen. Steve Dille (R-Dassel) also easily won re-election in Senate District 18, which includes Meeker County.

Two Republicans were elected to the Minnesota Legislature for the first time. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) won House District 18B, which includes Meeker County. Urdahl will replace retiring Bob Ness (R-Dassel).

And Bud Heidgerken (R-Freeport) won the open seat in House District 13A, which includes the western half of Stearns County and the northern part of Kandiyohi County. This new seat was created due to redistricting.

The only state legislator from the DFL party is Sen. Dean Johnson (DFL-Willmar), who won re-election in Senate District 13. Local voters, though, preferred his opponent, Joe Gimse (R-Willmar), slightly.

About the only winning DFLer who was preferred by local voters was Collin Peterson (DFL-Detroit Lakes), who won re-election to a seventh term in the House of Representatives. Peterson will represent the Seventh Congressional District, which includes Meeker County, Kandiyohi County, and the western portion of Stearns County.

The rest of Stearns County will be represented by Mark Kennedy (R-Watertown), who was elected to a second term in Congress, this time representing the Sixth Congressional District, which includes the eastern part of Stearns County and extends to the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Local races: Area Cities | Hospital Board
In the city of Paynesville, all three incumbents were re-elected. Mayor Jeff Thompson, who ran unopposed, earned another two-year term and council members Dennis Zimmerman and Jean Soine earned four-year terms on the council, winning in a tight three-way race against challenger Jackie Braun. Zimmerman led with 523 votes, Soine was second with 486, and Braun was third with 456 votes. The amiable campaign was capped by a close election in which 70 votes separated all three contestants.

In Paynesville Township, Kay Spooner was elected to the hospital board. She will replace Grace Peteler, who has represented the township on the board since 1992 but did not file for re-election.

This race was also a close three-way affair, with Spooner winning with 266 votes, Brad Johnson second with 203 votes and Denise Hansen third with 188 votes.

Spooner won't be the only new member of the hospital board. Joseph Musel was elected in Roseville Township with 18 write-in votes. He will replace Mel Jones, who also did not file for re-election.

And, Eden Lake Township voters approved joining the hospital district, which means a representative from that township (to be appointed by the township board) will soon join the hospital board. (See separate story on page 1.)

County races: County Results
Stearns County has a new sheriff, new attorney, and new recorder following last week's election. John Sanner is the new sheriff, and Diane Grundhoefer is the new recorder.

The new attorney appears to be Janelle Kendall, currently the Mille Lacs County Attorney. Kendall outpolled Mary Yunker 25,771 to 25,624, but because the margin is so close (only 147 votes) Yunker can, and has, requested a recount at public expense. That recount is expected to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

A school levy referendum in Albany, which lost by three votes, will also be recounted next week. Former Rockville mayor Vince Schaefer is the new county commissioner for District 3, replacing Rose Arnold, who retired. Schaefer beat former legislator Steve Dehler to represent District 3, which includes Eden Lake and Munson townships.

Kandiyohi County has a new sheriff and a new surveyor. Dan Hartog is the new sheriff, and Duane Bonnema is the new surveyor.

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community