Shore voters stay the courseWhile the state and national political scene changed dramatically Tuesday night, things remained relatively status quo in Lake County.
By: Matt Suoja, Mike Creger, Lake County News Chronicle
While the state and national political scene changed dramatically Tuesday night, things remained relatively status quo in Lake County. The traditionally Democratic stronghold remained that way by wide margins despite a stunning victory by Republican Chip Cravaack against long-time incumbent Rep. Jim Oberstar in the U.S. House District 8 race and a razor-thin win for Democrat Mark Dayton against Republican Tom Emmer in the governor race.
It was also a night for incumbents in Lake County and Paul Bergman and Rick Goutermont won their seats on the county board and Chris Swanson retained his seat on the Two Harbors City Council.
Bergman defeated Two Harbors council member Mary Henjum Rosati 52-47 percent in District 4. Goutermont defeated Pat Taylor 57-43 percent for the District 2 seat.
“I see big things for the county ahead,” Bergman said. He said the fiber optics broadband project will be pivotal for the future of Lake County. “I want to get as much employment in Lake County as I possibly can.”
Bergman said another key aspect for the county board will be keeping the budget in check.
For the 6th Judicial District judge seat, Tim Costley overwhelmed Mike Cuzzo 64-35 percent in Lake County but the rest of the district didn’t go as well and Cuzzo ran away with a 60-40 win.
In one of the closest races of the night, for the Lake County Attorney, Assistant County Attorney Laura Auron defeated Jeremy Hurd 52-47 percent.
“It’s really kind of a humbling thing,” Auron said. “I know the work ahead. I have been doing this for a long time.”
In Silver Bay, Mayor Scott Johnson along with council members Dave Gustafson, Steve Marolt, and Joanne Johnson all won their races, which were all unopposed.
In Two Harbors’ Ward 2, Swanson prevailed over Kara Davidson-Soley 58-41 percent. Jerry Norberg won the Two Harbors City Council at-large seat running unopposed. Seth McDonald was also awarded a council seat in Ward 1 as a write-in.
“Kara Davidson was an exceptional candidate and ran a very nice race,” Swanson said. He said the focus in his new term will be job growth and the broadband project.
In Beaver Bay, Tom Harris and Teresa Bartel were elected to the city council while Mark Russell III will be the mayor once again. Ken Nelson was the odd man out in a three-person race to two seats on the council.
Lake Superior School District Board members Carol Youngberg, Jack Pichotta, and Leo Babeu ran unopposed and were all re-elected and Kathy Ruberg won Pat Wilson’s seat unopposed.
Oberstar won with 55 percent of the Lake County electorate over Cravaack’s 41 percent. Statewide, Cravaack won 48-47 percent. Dayton ran ahead of Tom Emmer 59-32 percent in Lake County while Independence candidate Tom Horner gathered 8 percent of the vote. Dayton won the statewide race by less than 10,000 votes, likely triggering an automatic recount.
For the Minnesota Senate District 6 seat, incumbent Democrat Tom Bakk defeated Republican Jennifer Havlick of Silver Creek Township 65-35 percent in Lake County. For the district, Havlick lost 63-37. In the state District 6A State Representative race, Republican Jim Tuomala lost to incumbent David Dill 68-32 percent in Lake County and 66-34 district-wide. Both incumbents bucked a trend across the state as Republicans will now have the majority in both the house and senate, something not seen in St. Paul in decades.
About 75 percent of registered voters, or 5,539 out of 7,469, came out to vote this year in Lake County. Voter turnout for the state was running at about 67 percent. Nationally, the turnout was below the 50-percent mark, including in Wisconsin.