by Mike Knaak
A special election that will decide which party controls the Minnesota State Senate and a wide-open race for Stearns County sheriff are key races for St. Joseph voters in the Nov. 6 general election.
In the Senate race, Republican Jeff Howe and Democrat Joe Perske are competing for the District 13 seat vacated by longtime Sen. Michelle Fischbach. Senate District 13 includes St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Cold Spring, Kimball and Paynesville areas. The winner will serve a two-year term.
For the first time in 16 years, Stearns County residents will elect a new sheriff. Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud and Stearns County Sgt. Steve Soyka are running for that office. The sheriff will serve a four-year term.
With Howe running for Senate, his District 13A House seat is open. Democrat Jim Read and Republican Lisa Demuth are running in 13A, which runs from St. Joseph and Avon southeast to Lynden Township and then west to the Paynesville area. Representatives serve two-year terms.
Locally, St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz is unopposed to serve another term but three candidates are running for two city council seats. Incumbents Dale Wick and Anne Buckvold are on the ballot as well as challenger Brian Theisen.
For more stories about the candidates and issues, go to our website. You’ll find all the stories we’ve published this year at www.thenewsleaders.com/category/election.
Minnesotans will elect a new governor to replace two-term incumbent Mark Dayton. Republican Jeff Johnson, who lost to Dayton in 2014, and Democrat Tim Walz, who represents the First District in the U.S. House of Representatives, are seeking the governor’s office. Minor party candidates Chris Wright and Josh Welter are also on the ballot.
Democrat Keith Ellison, who currently represents the Fifth District in the U.S. House, and Republican Doug Wardlow, a former state legislator, are running for attorney general, a job currently held by Lori Swanson who is not seeking re-election.
Incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican John Howe and Independence Party candidate William Denney.
There’s a four-way race for State Auditor. Republican Pam Myhra, Democrat Julie Blaha, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Michael Ford and Libertarian Chris Dock are running.
The statewide candidates serve four-year terms.
There are races for both U.S. Senate seats held by Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
Klobuchar’s opponents are Republican Jim Newberger, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Dennis Schuller and Green Party candidate Paula Overby.
Smith, who was Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, was appointed to replace Al Franken when he resigned last year. The special election will fill out the last two years of Franken’s six-year term. Smith’s challengers are Republican Karin Housley, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Sarah Wellington and Jerry Trooien, who is running without party affiliation.
In the Sixth Congressional District, Republican Tom Emmer is seeking a third two-year term. His Democratic challenger is first-time candidate Ian Todd of Sauk Rapids.
The other contested Stearns County race is for Auditor-Treasurer. Incumbent Randy Schreifels is being challenged by John William Beuning. County Attorney Janelle Kendall is running unopposed.
Six candidates are running for three open seats on the St. Cloud school board. Zachary Dorholt, Les Green, Peter Hamerlinck, Larry Hosch, Natalie Ringsmuth and Beth Schlangen are on the ballot. No incumbent school board members are seeking re-election.
Other races on the ballot include the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and District Court Judges, and soil-and-water conservation supervisors.
Before Election Day, Nov. 6, Stearns County residents can vote in person through Nov. 5 at three locations: Stearns County Administration Center, 705 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud; Stearns County Service Center, 3301 CR 138, Waite Park; and Melrose Area Community Service Center, 114 First Ave. SW, Melrose. The offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, and until 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5.
To find your polling place, view a sample ballot and find answers to other election questions, go to mnvotes.org or contact the Stearns County Auditor-Treasurer’s office at 320-656-3920, or email email@example.com.