It was Election Day Tuesday, and voters around the area cast their ballots in a number of local races in large numbers either before or during Election Day. Results spilled over well into Wednesday, and for the office of Mayor the city of Austin, current Second Ward City Councilman Steve King was victorious after garnering 6,015 votes. Fellow City Councilman Jeff Austin finished with 4,007 votes. Oballa Oballa and Helen Jahr were looking to fill a vacant seat in Ward 1 for the Austin City Council, and Oballa claimed the seat with 1,927 votes to Jahr’s 1,446 votes. Four candidates were seeking three open seats on the city’s Utility Board, and incumbent Kristin Johnson claimed one of the seats with 5,965 votes, Thomas Baulder, another incumbent claimed another with 5,580 votes and Jay Lutz earned the third with 4,341 votes. Incumbent Tyler Hulsebus garnered 3,771 votes.
Mower County elected offices up for election Tuesday included County Commissioner seats in Districts 1 and 2, and Soil and Water Supervisors in Districts 1,2 and 5. Incumbent Tim Gabrielson in District 1 for the Mower County Board of Commissioners was elected to another term with 2,588 votes while Tim Duren, who ran a write-in campaign for the position earned 256 votes. Incumbent Polly Glynn in District 2 won her race against challenger Ray Tucker with 2,176 votes to Tucker’s 1,805. Rodney Moe won the race for Soil and Water Supervisor in District 1 with 8,252 votes to Peter Mattson’s 7,105. Micah Peterson in District 2 and incumbent Jon Erichson in District 5 both ran unopposed.
There were four open seats on the Austin Public School Board in Tuesday’s election, and a total of nine candidates were in the mix. Two of those candidates running were vying for the two-year term of Don Fox, who retired two years into his current term. The open seat will go to Katie Ulwelling, who finished with 7,125 votes while Carol McAlister garnered 3,872 votes. The seven remaining candidates were vying for three four-year terms on the board, and those terms will go to Cece Kroc, who accumulated 4,852 votes, another will go to Evan Sorenson, who garnered 4,523 votes and the third will go to incumbent Don Leathers, who earned 4,274 votes. Ulwelling will start her term on November 9th, while Kroc, Sorenson and Leathers will start their terms at the beginning of January 2021. Austin Public Schools had also asked voters in the district to approve an operating levy referendum that would see a raise in per student funding of $505, and the referendum question failed by 108 votes with 5,980 no votes to 5,872 yes. The current operating referendum level is $42.70 per student would be adjusted to $547 per student if it had been approved.
In the 1st U.S. Congressional District race, Republican incumbent Jim Hagedorn will retain his seat as he totaled 178,049 votes, or 48.5% and Democratic challenger Dan Feehan finished with 162,131 votes, or 45.5%. In the race for Senate District 27, Republican challenger Gene Dornink unseated DFL incumbent Dan Sparks with 19,031 votes to Sparks’ 17,464 votes. The challenger was also victorious in the race for State Representative in District 27B as Republican Patricia Mueller claimed the seat with 9,853 votes to incumbent Jeanne Poppe’s 9,239 votes. In House District 27A, Republican incumbent Peggy Bennett won her re-election bid with 12,586 votes, or 62.7% to Democratic challenger Thomas Martinez’s 7,452 votes, or 37.1%.
Mower County Auditor/Treasurer Scott Felten reported that election results from the county were posted to the Secretary of State’s Office at approximately 4:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, and he added that there were still about 350 absentee and mail ballots received by Nov. 3 that still needed to be processed and counted, which was expected to be completed on Thursday. Felten added that the status of those ballots has been communicated with the Secretary of State’s Office.