by Mike Knaak
Local races on the ballot for the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary election include choosing a new Stearns County sheriff and electing St. Cloud school district board members.
For the first time in 16 years, there’s no incumbent sheriff on the ballot. Four men have filed for the office and the primary will narrow the field to two candidates.
Pfannenstein withdrew from active campaigning after he was appointed St. Joseph police chief in June but his name remains on the ballot.
Bentrud has been Waite Park police chief for 10 years and before that served in the St. Cloud police department.
Dickhaus is a lieutenant in the Stearns County sheriff’s office. His law enforcement career begin in 1990 as a Richmond police officer, before moving to Cold Spring and then Stearns County.
Soyka’s law enforcement career spans 27 years. He’s a former commander of the Violent Offenders Task Force and currently a Stearns County sergeant.
Nine people have filed for three seats on the St. Cloud school board. The primary will narrow the field to six candidates.
The candidates are Scott Andreasen, Zachory Dorholt, Les Green, Peter Hamerlinck, Larry Hosch, Thomas Kufalk, Natalie Ringsmith, Beth Schlangen and Kathleen Steiner.
Voters will find several state and federal offices on the partisan section of the ballot. In the primary, voters are limited to picking candidates in one party and cannot cross over from race to race.
Minnesotans will elect a new governor this year with Gov. Mark Dayton ending two terms.
On the Republican side of the ballot, endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson, who lost to Dayton in 2014, is being challenged by former two-term governor Tim Pawlenty. Mathew Kruse is also on the Republican ballot. Pawlenty has chosen former state Sen. Michelle Fischbach as his lieutenant governor. Fischbach represented the Sartell, St. Joseph, Cold Spring and Paynesville areas in District 13 before resigning. Her replacement will be chosen in a special election on Nov. 6. District 13 Senate candidates are Democrat Joe Perske and Republican Jeff Howe.
On the Democratic Party side of the ballot, endorsed candidate Erin Murphy faces challenges from Tim Walz, who represents Minnesota’s First Congressional District, and Lori Swanson, current state attorney general. The DFL ballot also lists Tim Holden and Ole Savior.
Three people are running for attorney general on the Republican side of the ballot. They are Sharon Anderson, Robert Lessard and Doug Wardlow, who is the party-endorsed candidate.
Five Democrats are running for attorney general. They are Keith Ellison, Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom, Matt Pelikan and Mike Rothman. The DFL endorsed Pelikan. Ellison currently represents Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District.
Minnesota’s two Democratic U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, are up for election in 2018. Dayton appointed Smith, who was lieutenant governor, after Al Franken resigned his senate seat, triggering an election this fall for the last two years of Franken’s term.
Klobuchar faces four challengers: Steve Carlson, Stephen Emery, David Groves and Leonard Richards.
Smith faces five challengers: Ali Chehem Ali, Gregg Iverson, Nick Leonard, Richard Painter and Christopher Seymore Sr. Painter, a former Republican, served as President George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer and is currently a law professor at the University of Minnesota.
Klobuchar and Smith are the party-endorsed candidates.
On the Republican side, four people are running to face Klobuchar. They are: Merrill Anderson, Rae Hart Anderson, Roque De La Fuente and Jim Newberger.
Three people are running for the two-year seat: Bob Anderson, Nikolay Nikolayevich Bey and Karin Housley.
Republicans endorsed Newberger and Housley.
In Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, Republicans will choose from incumbent Tom Emmer, Patrick Munro and A.J. Kern for who will face Democrat Ian Todd in November.
If you can’t make it to the polls on Aug. 14, Stearns County has added hours for casting absentee ballots at two locations.
The Stearns County Auditor’s Office and Stearns County Service Center will be open on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and until 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 13.
The auditor’s office is in the Stearns County Administration Center, Room 148, 705 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud.
The service center is at 3301 CR 138, Waite Park.
Candidates for offices that do not conduct primaries won’t be on the Aug. 14 ballot. The filing period for those offices runs until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The Sartell-St. Stephen school district will elect three board members to serve four-year terms.
In St. Joseph, voters will elect a mayor and two city council members.
The city of St. Stephen will elect two council members to serve four-year terms, one council member to serve a two-year term and a mayor to serve a two-year term.