Players set to start election season

By Sam Aselstine
Times Editor

It’s been well known for many years that redistricting of state and county political lines has loomed on the horizon as we approached this general election year.

Much speculation and consternation preceded the redistricting process.

And once hearings led to the eventual unveiling of the latest district lines, most politicians and citizens with political aspirations, even if they were less than thrilled with the new districts, began accepting, assessing and analyzing the battles they’ll face come Nov. 6. Some politicians, however, will first need to win primary elections on Aug. 14 before their name will appear on the general election ballot.

For those candidates and incumbents, trying to secure or retain state and county posts, the filing period that opened on May 22 closed last Tuesday, June 5.

It had been clear for several years that the disproportionate growth of Wright County along the I-94 corridor would result in significant changes in county commissioner districts, and it did.

After the new districts for the county were unveiled in a controversial decision on May 1, all five-commissioner seats were subject to re-election. The situation resulted in a whopping 23 candidates filing to run for five seats. See box below for details.

On the state scene regarding Monticello area voters, Rep. Bruce Anderson, a Republican from Buffalo Township who has served as a state representative in the House since 1994, did as expected and filed for the newly formed open Senate District 29 seat. That seat replaces the District 19 seat being vacated by Republican Amy Koch of Buffalo, who is not seeking re-election for the new district that covers Monticello, Buffalo, Rockford, Delano, Montrose, Waverly, Howard Lake, Annandale, Maple Lake, South Haven and surrounding townships.

Anderson will be opposed by DFL candidate Brian Doran of Monticello.

House District 29B, which includes Monticello, Buffalo, Maple Lake and surrounding townships, features Indepedence Party member Eugene Newcombe of Monticello against Buffalo Republican Marion O’Neill and Buffalo DFL candidate Barrett A. Chrissis.

The state Senate District 15 race features Republican Dave Brown of Becker, Ogilvie DFL candidate Sally Knox and fellow DFLer Ron Thiessen of Clear Lake.

Filing for House District 15B, which includes Becker, Clear Lake, Clearwater, Foley and Gilman, were Republican Jim Newberger of Becker along with DFL candidates Bruno S. Gad of Clear Lake and Brian Johnson of Maple Lake.

Incumbent Scott J. Newman, a Republican from Hutchinson, will be opposed by Cokato DFLer Steven Schiroo for Senate District 18.

House District 18A will be contested by Republican Dean Urdahl of Grove City and Nancy Larson, DFL, of Dassel.

Senate House District 29A will pit Delano Mayor Joe McDonald, a Republican, and Montrose DFLer Susann Dye of Montrose.

Nick Zerwas, a Republican, of Elk River will face the DFL’s Holly Neuman of Big Lake in House District 30A, while House District 30B will pit Republican David Fitzsimmons against the DFL’s Sharon G. Shimek of Otsego.

Finally, U.S. Congressional districts also were affected, as with District 6 Rep. Michele Bachman. After redistricting bumped her Stillwater residence into the highly liberal 4th Congressional District, Bachmann took advantage of lack of a residency requirement and opted to try to retain her seat in the more conservative District 6, which includes Monticello. She will oppose St. Cloud hotelier Jim Graves, who won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s endorsement on the first ballot at the aparty’s endorsement convention in April.