Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By A. R. Vander Vegt
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Primary makes way for Nov. election in Carlton County


August 23, 2018

Last week’s primary election saw a record turnout of voters in Minnesota. Secretary of State Steve Simon reported 902,119 people voting in the primary, which is the highest number of primary voters since 1982. The turnout percentage reached nearly 23 percent, the highest since 1994.

Carlton County voters likewise turned up in impressive numbers, reaching a percentage of 32.56 percent for voter turnout — almost 10 percentage points higher than the state.

Of the 20,475 registered voters in the county, 6,767 voted in Tuesday’s primary. Just under six percent of those votes were absentee ballots.

In the state primary, Carlton County’s voters aligned for the most part with the final outcome for November’s election.

Jim Newberger (six year U.S. senator seat), Karin Housley (two year U.S. senator seat), Pete Stauber (District 8 U.S. Representative candidate) and Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom (governor and lieutenant governor candidates) performed strongly on the Republican ballot in Carlton County. Republican voters in Carlton County favored Robert Lessard for Attorney General by a close margin against final candidate Doug Wardlow. Lessard squeaked by with 780 votes versus Wardlow’s 762 votes.

On the Democratic ticket, voters of the county again performed consistently with the state numbers. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith easily secured their place on November’s ballot for the six and two year U.S. Senate seats respectively. For the U.S. Representative District 8 seat, Carlton County voters diverged from state numbers, casting 1,944 votes (46.04 percent) in favor of Michelle D. Lee. Statewide, Lee garnered 18,951 votes. Joe Radinovich cinched his place on the ballot, garnering 30,440 statewide. In Carlton County, he secured 1,697 votes.

Again, differing from statewide votes, governor and lieutenant governor candidates Lori Swanson and Rick Nolan garnered local favor. Their vote count was 2,053 ballots, or 48.4 percent. They did not perform so well statewide, only mustering up 24.6 percent of the DFL votes. Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan secured a spot on November’s ballot with 41.6 percent of the vote, or 242,549 votes. In Carlton County, the duo was neck-and-neck with Erin Murphy and Erin Maye-Quade. Walz-Flanagan squeaked by into second place with 1,049 votes over Murphy-Maye-Quade’s 1,036 votes.

Keith Ellison won the DFL ticket for Attorney General in the state race, but in Carlton County, he fell in a close second with 1,380 votes. Debra Hilstrom secured the most votes in Carlton County for Attorney General, garnering 1,437 votes. Statewide, only 19.1 percent of the votes went to her, paling in comparison to Ellison’s 49.8 percent support on the DFL ticket.

In local races, Susan Zmyslony and Mark Thell will appear on November’s ballot for the District 4 County Commissioner seat. Zmyslony currently holds that position; she picked up 623 votes against Thell’s 439.


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