Primary election narrows field of candidates
By Louis Hoglund
The list of candidates wanting to represent East Otter Tail in the Minnesota State Legislature narrowed from five to two Sept. 9.
Results of the primary election for the Minnesota State House of Representatives District 10B were as expected: The two formally endorsed candidates were the winners.
Tim Nieminen, who won the DFL endorsement at the county and District conventions earlier this year, was the top vote-getter in a field of three primary candidates.
Meanwhile, the Republican-endorsed Mark Murdock easily outdistanced a run from Ottertail's Al Hanson.
Nieminen and Murdock will now square off for the State House seat, which Dean Simpson will relinquish at the end of this year. Simpson announced last summer that he would not seek re-election, after serving four terms in the House.
Perham businessman Murdock collected 1,258 votes, to Hanson's 317.
On the Democratic side, Nieminen garnered 993 votes, followed by Wadena council member Pete Phillips 448. Wadena social worker Janine Hudson collected 202 votes.
Murdock, Nieminen sweep
Perham, New York Mills
Spot-checking some of the local precincts, New York Mills Republicans cast all their votes (17) for Murdock. Nieminen had a strong showing on the DFL side, netting 56 votes to only seven divided between the other two candidates.
In Perham city and township, a total of 188 votes were cast for hometown candidate Murdock--with Hanson netting only 14.
Hanson won the voting in only five Otter Tail precincts. In Shell River Township, only one Republican voted--for Hanson. It was a tie in Toad Lake Township: six votes for Hanson, six for Murdock.
In addition to East Otter Tail, District 10B also includes Wadena County.
Nieminen collected 466 votes in Wadena. Phillips netted 285 and Hudson, 81.
Murdock received 502 Republican votes in Wadena County, to 144 for Hanson.
Otter Tail County Board
Also determined in the Sept. 9 primary voting was the final ballot for two Otter Tail County seats.
In District 3, John Lindquist swept away with 827 votes. He will face Tom Lee, who netted 230 votes. Erick (Rick) Gronner received 144 votes.
In District 5, there was a four-way race for the two slots on the general election ballot.
The top vote getter was Lee Rogness, with 446. Facing him for the Otter Tail County Board seat will be James Ayres, who received 287 votes.
W. Rick Wilson pulled in 127. Tedd Steenbock received 101 votes.
The general election is November 4, and voter turnout is expected to be higher than ever--in the wake of a drawn out presidential campaign, and one of the highest-profile presidential races in history.