It is Election Day today, and voters have, or will be casting their ballots in a number of local races. For the office of Mayor of the city of Austin, current city councilmembers Steve King and Jeff Austin are vying for the position, and for Ward 1 for the Austin City Council, one-time Honorary City Councilmember Oballa Oballa and Riverland Community College adjunct faculty member Helen Jahr are looking to fill the position. Michael Postma filed for the seat in the Second Ward, which is currently being held by Steve King and incumbent Paul Fischer filed for his seat in the Third Ward. Incumbents Thomas Baudler, Tyler Hulsebus and Kristin Johnson, plus Jay Lutz filed for the three open seats on the city’s Utility Board.
Mower County elected offices up for election today include County Commissioner seats in Districts 1 and 2, and Soil and Water Supervisors in Districts 1,2, and 5. Incumbent Tim Gabrielson is facing off against challenger Tim Duren, who has been running a write-in campaign for the open seat in County Commission District 1, while incumbent Polly Glynn and former Mower County Commissioner Ray Tucker are vying for the seat in District 2. Peter Mattson and Rodney Moe filed for the open seat in Soil and Water Supervisor District 1, Micah Peterson filed for the seat in District 2 and incumbent Jon Erichson filed for his seat in District 5. There are also four open seats on the Austin Public School Board in today’s election, and a total of nine candidates will be in the mix.
Two of those running will be vying for the seat of Don Fox, who has retired two years into his current term, and the two candidates are Katie Ulwelling and Carol McAlister. The winner will start their term on November 9th while the winners of the four year seats will start the beginning of January.
The seven remaining candidates include incumbents Don Leathers and current School board Chairwoman Carolyn Dube, along with Cece Kroc, Al Eckmann, Ryan Norton, Evan Sorenson and Varinh Van Vugt, who are all running for four-year terms. One of the seats is an open seat left vacant by Dick Lees, who will also be retiring. Austin Public Schools are also asking voters in the district to approve an operating levy referendum that would see a raise in per student funding by $505. The current operating referendum level is $42.70 per student and would be adjusted to $547 per student upon passage. The increased operating referendum would provide additional funding to the school district to meet the needs of the educational system.
In the 1st U.S. Congressional District race, Republican incumbent Jim Hagedorn will face Democrat Dan Feehan for a second straight election, and in the race for Senate in District 27, incumbent DFL’er Dan Sparks from Austin will face Republican challenger Gene Dornink from Hayfield. In the race for State Representative in District 27B, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Poppe will face Republican Patricia Mueller, and in District 27A, incumbent Republican Peggy Bennett will face Democratic challenger Thomas Martinez.