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

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

Zmyslony files for recount, voter turnout reaches record


November 15, 2018

Following impressive turnout to August’s primary elections, Carlton County voters again participated in high numbers in last Tuesday’s midterm election with 80.64 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot. Carlton County Auditor Paul Gassert noted a “greater turnout” than midterm elections from four and eight years ago, which each saw about 70 percent voter turnout.

Gassert added that though turnout was impressive and high in Carlton County, that was “not necessarily true in all areas of the county.” In particular, he believed Cloquet and Wrenshall races saw busier days because of the local issues on the ballot.

Absentee ballots saw an uptick this election round as well. Gassert said Carlton County sent out about 4800 absentee ballots, compared to 3500 two years ago and 2500 four years ago.

In August, Gassert pointed out the amount of local races on a ballot tends to correlate with voter turnout.

Across the state, turnout numbers were high. The Pioneer Press reported 63.8 percent of eligible voters showed up to cast their ballot last Tuesday. Turnout for a midterm election hasn’t been that strong since 2002.

Closer to home, Lauri Ketola beat out incumbent Thom Pertler for Carlton County Attorney. Ketola received 77.3 percent of the vote for county attorney, a total of 11,488 votes according to the Secretary of State website. Pertler in the end received 22.52 percent of the vote, or 3,347 votes.

The District 4 County Commissioner seat revealed itself as a tight race between incumbent Susan Zmyslony and Mark Thell. With a difference of six votes, Thell apparently won the seat with 1,905 votes against Zmyslony’s 1,889 votes. A recount would have to be filed by Zmyslony within 48 hours of canvassing an election. In an email, Zmyslony confirmed she had in fact filed for a recount, and Gassert planned a date of Tuesday, November 20 for it to take place.

District 4 extends from Barnum up to Mahtowa and near Carlton, over to Wrenshall and down to Holyoke.

Other county-wide races, which ran unopposed, were District 2 County Commissioner, County Auditor/Treasurer and County Sheriff. Those posts remained with incumbents Marv Bodie, Paul Gassert and Kelly Lake respectively.

In statewide races, Carlton County voters aligned mostly with the state tide. DFL-ers Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, Mike Sundin for State Representative 11A, Secretary of State Steve Simon, State Auditor Julie Blaha, Attorney General Keith Ellison, as well as Tim Walkz and Peggy Flanagan for governor and lieutenant governor pretty readily defeated their Republican opponents.

Carlton County diverged from the rest of District 8 when selecting the next U.S. Representative. The seat has been held by Representative Rick Nolan, who is retiring after a bid for lieutenant governor with Attorney General Lori Swanson. While Carlton County preferred Democrat candidate Joe Radinovich, with 50.47 of the votes going to him, the District 8 race ultimately went to Republican Pete Stauber, who received 43.32 percent of Carlon County’s vote. The district-wide race was essentially flipped, with 50.72 percent of the vote having gone to Stauber versus 45.18 percent of the vote to Radinovich.

All those elected will take up their posts in January 2019.

Please note: The print version of this story did not state the date of the District 4 recount as it was not confirmed at the time of print.


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