Local results from Tuesday’s mid-term election
It was mid-term election day Tuesday in Mower County and across the state of Minnesota, and in local results from Tuesday, Republican Brad Finstad will retain the seat he won in a special election in August in the U.S. 1st Congressional District as he defeated Democratic challenger Jeff Ettinger of Austin with 159,558 votes, or 53.8% to Ettinger’s 125,345 votes, or 42.9%. Ettinger received more votes than Finstad in Mower County with 6,910, or 48.9% to Finstad’s 6,726, or 47,6%. In Senate District 23, Republican incumbent Gene Dornink won re-election over DFL challenger Brandon Lawhead of Austin Tuesday with 20,275 votes, or 60.7% to Lawhead’s 13,051 votes, or 39%. Dornink also received more votes in Mower County with 6,833, or 53.6% to Lawhead’s 5,869 votes, or 46.1%. For State Representative in District 23B, Republican incumbent Patricia Mueller retained her seat Tuesday with 8,336 votes, or 55% to Democratic challenger Tom Stiehm’s 6,786 votes, or 44.7%. Mueller also received more votes in Mower County Tuesday with 6,763, or 53% to Stiehm’s 5,957 votes, or 46.7%. In State District 23A, Republican incumbent Peggy Bennett easily won re-election Tuesday with 12,040 votes, or 65.7% to DFL challenger Mary Hinnenkamp’s 6,252 votes, or 34.1%.
In other local races from Tuesday’s midterm election, two of the four seats up for election on the Mower County Board of Commissioners were contested, and in District 3, incumbent Jerry Reinartz was victorious with 1,642 votes, or 54% to challenger Jason Duffy’s 1,389 votes, or 45.7%. The other contested race for the county board was in District 4, and challenger Dan Sparks downed incumbent Jeff Baldus with 1,175 votes, or 53.3% to Baldus’s 1,021 votes, or 46.3%. District 1 Commissioner John Mueller and District 5 Commissioner Mike Ankeny both ran unopposed. For the office of Sheriff of Mower County, incumbent Steve Sandvik won re-election handily Tuesday with 10,834 votes, or 83.8% to challenger David Huse’s 2,058 votes, or 15.9%. In the city of Austin, four city council seats were up for election on Tuesday, and for the At-Large position, incumbent Jeff Austin won re-election with 4,172 votes, or 55.4% to challenger Oballa Oballa’s 3,336 votes, or 44.3%. In the 1st Ward, former city councilwoman Laura Helle upended incumbent Rebecca Waller with 1,134 votes, or 54.7% to Waller’s 935 votes, or 45.1%. In the 2nd Ward, incumbent Jason Baskin easily won re-election with 2,516 votes, or 83.6% to challenger Watsana Thiravong’s 484 votes, or 16%. In the 3rd Ward for Austin City Council, incumbent Joyce Poshusta retained her seat Tuesday with 1,280 votes, or 60.3% to challenger Ronald A. Kelly’s 837 votes, or 39.4%.
There were five candidates seeking four open seats on the Austin School Board in Tuesday’s election, and incumbents Peggy Young and Kathy Greene retained their seats with 5,651 and 5,319 votes, respectively, and claiming the other two seats were Carol McAlister with 5,044 votes and former school board member Carolyn Dube with 5,007 votes, while Denver Ritz received 3,597 votes. The Austin School District was also seeking approval of a referendum revenue authorization to increase the district’s general education revenue by $470 per pupil, and the referendum was approved by a vote of 4,512 yes, or 54% to 3,831 no, or 45.9%.