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Ahlers, incumbent Zylstra advance in Nobles County primary

WORTHINGTON -- Marvin Zylstra, the senior member of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, advanced to the November general election Tuesday following a primary that saw a list of four District 1 candidates cut to two.

WORTHINGTON -- Marvin Zylstra, the senior member of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, advanced to the November general election Tuesday following a primary that saw a list of four District 1 candidates cut to two.

Zylstra, who has served as a county commissioner for 14 years, wound up in second place with an unofficial tally of 122 votes, ahead of challengers Keith Stubbe (59 votes) and Tom Hendel (28 votes) and just behind Justin Ahlers (140 votes). He noted during a Tuesday night phone call that the historically low turnouts for primary elections can make for unpredictability.

“I voted in Brewster at 2 p.m. … and I was just the 10th person that had voted,” Zylstra said.

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Reflecting on his future on -- or off -- the commission, Zylstra remarked, “Either way, I can’t lose. I’ve had 14 years, and I really don’t think there’s anything I should hang my head down about. I’ve been thankful for the opportunity to serve, and ultimately thankful to the voters.”

Zylstra said he did everything he could to get the vote out for Tuesday’s primary, adding that he feels his experience on the board is important.

“I’ve been on the board the longest,” he said. “I’ve had 14 years and the other four combined only have 18 years, so that’s quite a difference. They’re doing an excellent job, but there is value in experience.

“Certainly I want to retain my seat; ultimately that’s the goal. But win or lose, life’s going to go on.”

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Ahlers is a farmer and the director of public works for the city of Lismore. Stubbe resides in Round Lake and has owned and operated Elite Audio in Worthington for 32 years. Hendel is a construction manager who lives in Graham Lakes Township.

The primary contest in Rock County District 3 certainly offered its own intrigue, as 30-plus-year commissioner Ron Boyenga was clinging to his seat by a thread thanks to an apparent tiebreaker scenario. Recently retired commercial banker Greg Burger emerged as the top vote-getter with an unofficial total of 108 votes, outdistancing a deadlocked Boyenga and Darrel Van Aartsen (67 votes apiece).

The race for the Rock County District 1 shape was trimmed from four to two, as Gary Overgaard and Mike Davis ran neck-and-neck Tuesday night. Overgaard, a lifelong farmer who resides near Magnolia, and Davis, who lives in Magnolia Township and is the owner of a tree service business, emerged with totals of 106 votes and 88 votes, respectively. They finished well ahead of Don Bryan (39 votes) and Kyle Hemme (38). Long-time commissioner Kenneth Hoime opted not to seek reelection.

Luverne’s North Ward also had a primary race Tuesday night, as three candidates sought to continue to November and fill a seat being vacated by Esther Speakes Frakes. It will be Dan Nath, a business analyst and retired fire chief, facing off against Larry Lanphere, a retired longtime radio broadcasting professional. Nath garnered 110 votes and Lanphere had 90, whileLennis “Red” Arndt, chairman of Lewis & Clark Regional Water System board since 2006, had a total of 58.

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Results from three Jackson County Board of Commissioners races were unavailable late Tuesday, as no precincts were being shown as reporting on the Minnesota Secretary of State website at about 10:30 p.m.

Rich Erickson, Harvey Kruger and David “Scott” McClure were seeking the right to advance to the general election in Jackson County’s First District. In District 3, Carl Driggins, Albert Henning and Cathy Hohenstein were facing off, and the District 5 primary contest was between James Eigenberg, John Hay and Wayne Rasche. No matter what happens, Jackson County will have three members of its county board following the November election, as all three districts had incumbents who opted not to run for new terms.

On the federal front, endorsed Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn of Blue Earth cruised to an easy win over Steve Williams of rural Austin in the First Congressional District. He will now once again face incumbent Democrat Tim Walz, who did not face a primary challenger and is seeking his sixth two-year term in Washington.

Hagedorn issued a press release Tuesday night after his primary triumph was all but secure.

“Tonight is another milestone in our cause to win back the First Congressional District and begin the process of restoring America’s greatness,” Hagedorn said. “Over the next 13 weeks I will continue to address the key issues of this race and clearly contrast my common-sense forward-looking solutions with my opponent’s failed record and lack of ideas.”

Related Topics: JIM HAGEDORN
Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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