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Primary features interesting races

Voters in central Minnesota who go to the polls for Tuesday’s primary will have a variety of races to weigh in on, ranging from a rare DFL primary for the 8th Congressional District to three county board races in Crow Wing and Morrison counties.

This year, at least in the Brainerd area, the Democrats have cornered the market in primary races for partisan offices.

Three DFLers are vying to unseat Rep. Chip Cravaack — the man who unseated longtime Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., two years ago. The DFLers are former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson, former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, and former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who is the endorsed candidate.

Three DFL-endorsed legislative candidates face challengers. Taylor Stevenson of Baxter, the endorsed candidate for Senate District 10, is being challenged by Aitkin County Commissioner Anne Marcotte. Endorsed House 10B candidate Joe Radinovich of Crosby is being challenged by David Schaaf of McGregor. In Senate District 5, which includes part of Cass County, Sen. Tom Saxhaug, the DFL incumbent, is being challenged by Laverne H. Pederson of Bemidji.

The race for Crow Wing County Board’s District 5 post features Ronda Cool, Kris Hasskamp, incumbent Doug Houge, Thomas Nixon and David Allan Pundt.

Voters in Crow Wing County District 1 will choose among Monty Jensen, Doug Kern, Paul Koering, incumbent Philip Trusty and announced write-in candidate Marv Begin.

In Morrison County the District 1 board candidates are Sharon Ballou, Chuck Forss, Bob Harmsen, Clint Kathrein, Robert Masog and Kevin Maurer.

In the county races the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Not responding to the Dispatch’s inquiries were Koering in Crow Wing County District 1; Saxhaug and Pederson in Senate District 5; and Harmsen, Kathrein, Masog and Maurer in District 1 of Morrison County.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860