And the winners are…
Surprising as Nov. 8’s U.S. presidential election results may have been nationwide, the Faribault County vote was indicative, at least in some ways, of the country’s biggest decision of 2016.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting after Election Day, Minnesota was one of the few Midwestern states to lean in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s favor, as the former secretary of state maintained a lead of more than 42,000 votes here.
In Faribault County alone, however, the widespread success of Republican president-elect Donald Trump was replicated among the type of rural populations that seemed to fuel his improbable run to 270-plus electoral votes.
With 33 of 33 precincts counted at the Faribault County Courthouse on election night, Trump and running mate Mike Pence were deemed decisive winners, earning 4,659 (62.86 percent) of the county vote.
Clinton and her own vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine, tallied 2,153 votes (29.05 percent) across the county’s 11 cities and 20 rural townships.
Gary Johnson, representing the Libertarian Party, claimed 3.66 percent of the county vote with 271 votes, while conservative independent Evan McMullin garnered 1.78 percent of the vote with 132 ballots cast in his favor.
And the winners are…
In the race of area district senator seats, voters in District 23 gave the majority vote to incumbent Julie Rosen, with Barbara Ann Lake receiving only 29.09 percent of the votes there.
Republican Rosen received a total of 28,063 votes, or 70.81 percent throughout the district, and in Faribault County received 2,852 votes. DFL challenger Lake received a total of 11,529 votes, with 1,221 of those votes coming from Faribault County. There were a total of four write-in votes in Faribault County.
For District 27, which covers the eastern third of the county, DFL candidate Dan Sparks won with 54.76 percent of the votes, or 20,545 actual votes. His challenger, Republican Gene Dornink, received 16,948 votes, a 45.17-percent rate. There was a total write-in of 28 votes for District 27, pulling .07 percent away from the DFL and GOP?candidates.
In Faribault County, Sparks only received 225 votes, while his competitor received 556 votes. There were two write-in votes in Faribault County for the District 27 state senator race.
In the race for state representative for District 23A, Republican incumbent Bob Gunther received 13,700 votes in the district, totalling a 68.14-percent win against DFL opponent and Blue Earth native Zac Huntley, who received 6,390 votes in District 23A.
In Faribault County, the numbers still were in favor of Gunther over Huntley. Huntley only received 1,828 votes in his home county, whereas Gunther swept with 3,328 votes. There were six write-ins in the District 23A race.
Zac Huntley had this to say about his race in his home territory:
“What a tremendous experience this has been. I’ve learned so much through this process. But, it just wasn’t in the cards this time around. I wish the best for our district under Rep. Bob Gunther for another two years. I hope that young people will see my campaign as evidence that age doesn’t matter. If you’re committed to serving, anyone can do this, and at the end of the day, I hope that this has invigorated some new faces to run for different offices all across our area and get more involved in our local government. I am proud that Minnesotans came out and made their voices heard on the constitutional amendment, something I highlighted several times throughout my campaign. I hope that it will lead to greater transparency in our government and increased performance among our elected legislators. Thank you, again, to all of my dedicated volunteers and supporters. I couldn’t have done this without you. Please be hopeful for our country as we move forward. I think we have some truly trying times ahead of us, but we must come together now. Wherever you are, be kind to each other.”
Again, with the eastern third of Faribault County, including the towns of Wells, Walters and Kiester, District 27A’s voters were in favor of Republican incumbent Peggy Bennett, who received 12,330 votes, or 61.71 percent of the votes. Her DFL opponent, Gary Schindler, only received 7,633 votes, or 38.20 percent.
There were a number of write-ins 17 to be exact.
Faribault County voters of District 27A also stood by Bennett, giving her 584 votes, while Schindler only received 299 of the Faribault County District 27A votes.
And the winners are…
Just a little bit short.
That is what happened to Blue Earth resident Jim Hagedorn’s bid to defeat incumbent First Congressional District DFLer Tim Walz.
Walz gathered 169,116 votes to Hagedorn’s 166,603, and won re-election to his congressional seat by less than one percent. Walz had 50.34 percent of the vote, to 49.58 percent for Hagedorn.
In Hagedorn’s home-base county of Faribault, he thumped Walz, winning 4,429 to 2,884, or by 60.54 percent to 39.42 percent.
This was the second election in a row that the two have faced off against each other. The election in 2014 was nowhere near this close, with Walz taking that one 123,149 to 103,954. Hagedorn barely edged Walz in Faribault County in 2014, winning 2,503 to 2,151 locally.
Hagedorn has been on the campaign trail basically ever since the 2014 election came to a close.
“We probably ran the best Republican congressional ‘challenger’ campaign of this election cycle,” Hagedorn said after the loss. “We ran an old-fashioned retail- and issue-based campaign. We worked tirelessly across southern Minnesota. We spent just $2 per vote and came within 2,547 votes (.76 percent) of winning. I congratulate Congressman Walz on his victory.”
And the winners are…
Elections at the Faribault County level were hardly close, but polls across cities, townships and school boards had their fair share of parity.
With a new mayor in Elmore, a fresh face on Winnebago’s City Council and other changes sprinkled throughout the county’s Election Day results, here is a look at some of the Nov. 8 activity from the area:
District 5 commissioner Tom Warmka fended off challenger Paul Bach for the second consecutive election season, tallying 1,155 votes (76.24 percent) to Bach’s 356 (23.5 percent).
“I’m both humbled and honored that the people of the fifth district chose to put their trust in me,” Warmka said. “I take this public service job very seriously, and I look forward to another four years of hopefully making Faribault County a better place to live.”
Warmka’s fellow incumbents John Roper (District 1) and Bill Groskreutz Jr. (District 3) were also re-elected in their unopposed races.
Roper received 1,212 votes (97.98 percent) against 25 write-in ballots in District 1, while Groskreutz had similarly strong support with 1,287 votes (98.85 percent).
City of Blue Earth
Incumbent mayor Rick Scholtes, running unopposed for re-election, captured 97.71 percent of the vote to secure another four years in office.
Councilmen Dan Warner, John Huisman and Glenn Gaylord were also re-elected. Only 32 write-in votes opposed a combined 3,364 for the three incumbents.
Huisman led the trio with 1,158 (34.10 percent of the vote), while Warner drew 1,149 (33.83 percent) and Gaylord finished with 1,057 (31.12 percent).
A special two-year council seat was sought by incumbent Dan Brod, who previously served a four-year term, but Wendy Cole topped both Brod and Gregory Scheid with 682 votes (46.36 percent) to win.
Brod’s 547 votes (37.19 percent) more than doubled the total for Scheid (232 votes) but was not enough to grant him re-election.
City of Wells
With incumbent mayor Ron Gaines choosing not to file for re-election, councilman David Braun claimed the seat with 538 votes (51.73 percent) to 271 for contender Lyle Doerr Jr.
Another 231 votes for mayor went to write-in candidates, but Braun still drew enough support for a transition from the council.
With Braun vying for the mayoral position and incumbent councilman Steve Burns not running again, two seats were up for grabs between Crystal Dulas, Brenda Weber and Jeremie Seedorf.
The former two were elected, as Weber received 724 votes (39.41 percent) and Dulas had 585 (31.85 percent), whereas Seedorf had 504 (27.44 percent).
City of Elmore
There is a new mayor in town, as first-time challenger Bjorn Olson scored nearly double the votes of incumbent Carla Prokop, earning 165 to Prokop’s 83.
Sue Dickson, the only candidate on the Elmore ballot for a council seat, got 205 votes (66.34 percent), while Ruth Kastner had the majority of 104 write-in votes to claim the other open spot.
City of Delavan
Running unopposed for the mayor position, Kevin Walker took 78 of 88 votes to win, while Merlyn Ottesen and Brian Townsend had the two highest totals 73 and 47 votes, respectively to earn the two open council seats.
Lowell John Borgos campaigned for one of the open council seats but fell short of the others with 38 votes.
City of Kiester
Incumbent mayor Douglas Trytten held his ground against competition from former mayor Jeanne Brooks, taking 55.13 percent of the vote (145 votes) to best Brooks’ 43.73 percent (115 votes) and earn re-election.
Richard Jensen and Rick Stoneman, running for two open four-year council seats, were each elected. Jensen got 200 votes, and Stoneman collected 189.
Jason Kluender and Larry Dahleen, meanwhile, had successful bids for a pair of special two-year terms, drawing 193 and 191 votes, respectively.
City of Winnebago
Mayor Jeremiah Schutt, unopposed in his bid for re-election, earned 98.02 percent of the vote with 594 ballots in his favor, just 12 write-in votes opposing him.
Incumbent council members Jean Anderson (474 votes) and Rick Johnson (494 votes) ran unopposed and were re-elected to their seats, while Paul Eisenmenger won a special two-year spot left open by Dean Johnson’s decision not to file.
Eisenmenger faced competition from Nick Schwager and had 337 votes (59.54 percent) to Schwager’s 217 (38.34 percent).
City of Bricelyn
Unopposed mayor Dan Klingbeil was re-elected with 151 votes (92.07 percent), while incumbent council members Terri Douglas and John Goette earned two open seats with 114 and 138 votes, respectively.
William Hagen, the only candidate to file for a special two-year council term, received 142 votes against 14 write-in ballots to win.
City of Easton
Mayor Bryant Stiernagle got 101 votes to win his unopposed campaign for re-election, while Jon Rath and Andrea Neubauer ran unopposed to win two open council seats.
Neubauer, a new face for the council, tallied 106 votes, while Rath earned 94.
City of Frost
All incumbents were re-elected unopposed in Frost, as mayor Brian (Bob) Loge earned 91 of 96 votes and both Jared Bruellman and Lee Lincoln won back a pair of council seats.
Bruellman had 88 votes, and Lincoln garnered 94.
City of Minnesota Lake
Running unopposed for the mayoral spot, Jeff Ramsley earned re-election with 326 votes (98.19 percent).
And the council members shared a similar fate, as Edith “Edie” More secured 279 votes (47.45 percent) and Lonnie Stenzel earned 293 (49.83 percent) to reprise their terms.
City of Walters
Unopposed mayor Stacy Krohnberg earned all 28 votes for re-election.
Nonna Goin and Steve Brenke, running for two open council terms, were also elected without competition. Goin had 25 votes, while Brenke had 24.
Brent Stencel, meanwhile, was the only candidate for a special two-year council position and received all 28 votes to win.
BEA School Board
Jeremy Coxworth, a first-time candidate vying for one of three open board seats, captured 35.55 percent of the vote with 3,013 votes, while Susan Benz (2,688 votes) and incumbent Frankie Bly (2,700 votes) won the other two positions.
In a special election for a two-year seat on the board, incumbent Jesse Haugh reeled in 2,299 votes (61.06 percent) to top challenger Randall Anderson, whose 1,443 votes gave him 38.33 percent.
Incumbents Mark Maher and Dawn Fellows chose not to file for re-election, thus opening the seats for Benz and Coxworth.
USC School Board
Diana Brooks, Brad Heggen and Michael Schrader all won open board seats unopposed, while Thomas Legred secured 2,378 votes (99.5 percent) in a special election for a two-year term.
Schrader is the only incumbent of the four-year board elects, and 1,880 ballots in his favor were good enough for 33.05 percent of the vote. Heggen, meanwhile, got 2,104 votes, and Brooks had 1,662.
Incumbent township supervisor Darwin Olson, who represented Seat B, was ousted by challenger Nancy Peterson.
Peterson’s 123 votes topped Olson’s 90.
Incumbent town clerk Nina Patten held onto her position, however, earning 114 votes to top her competition, Laura Borris (97 votes).