REGIONAL - Murray County Sheriff Steve Telkamp dominated the four-way primary race for his office on Tuesday as he aims to continue his 16-year run as the county’s top law enforcement official.
Telkamp received an unofficial 1,594 votes - or 57.96 percent - in handily topping rival candidates Paul Kenney, Jeremy Steinle and Randy Donahue.
Kenney will advance with Telkamp to November’s general election, but he’ll need to make up significant ground with country voters. Fulda’s police chief earned 693 votes, or 25.2 percent of the total, while finishing ahead of Donahue (255 votes, 9.27 percent) and Steinle (208 votes, 7.56 percent)
Telkamp’s first-place finish in the primary comes in spite of considerable adversity the incumbent has faced in recent months. The Murray County Board of Commissioners asked in May for the immediate resignation of Telkamp, based on allegations of workplace harassment and a hostile work environment. Shortly thereafter, the county hired an interim director of sheriff to manage various operational matters and “protect employees” within the Murray County Sheriff’s Department.
The sheriff race was one of three in Murray County on Tuesday.
In a five-way contest in County Commissioner District 4, Jim Kluis emerged as the top vote recipient with 384 (59.08 percent). He’ll face Glenn “Corky” Kluis - who received 174 votes (26.77 percent) in November’s general election. Finishing out of the running were Patricia Pagel (44 votes, 6.77 percent), Aarron Mollema (30 votes, 4.62 percent) and Wayne Mollema (18 votes, 2.77 percent)
In the County Commissioner District 3 race, Dennis Welgraven of Chandler emerged on top by receiving 53.12 percent of the votes (298). He’ll face Sarah Rylaarsdam, also of Chandler, in November; Rylaarsdam garnered 107 votes (19.07 percent). Also in the primary were Tim Gass (79 votes, 14.08 percent) and Roger Lindmeier (77 votes, 13.73 percent).
In another key race Tuesday night, Maxwell Kaufman of Fulda and Brian Abrahamson of Luverne faced off for the right to represent the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in the District 22A State Representative race against incumbent Republican Joe Schomacker.
With 109 of 110 precincts reporting, Kaufman, a Fulda native and University of Minnesota graduate who works as a development planner at the Southwest Regional Development Commission, garnered 1,328 votes (53.90 percent) in topping Abrahamson, a direct support professional for adults with disabilities and a CNA for eldercare. Abrahamson had 1136 votes (46.1 percent).
In other races:
Cottonwood County District 1: Jim Schmidt, who is in his eighth year of service on the county board, will have the opportunity to seek a new term in November. He received 126 votes (37.72 percent). He wasn’t the front-runner, however, as Larry Anderson of Westbrook earned 138 votes (41.32 percent). Jon Johnson of Storden trailed (70 votes, 20.96 percent).
Jackson County District 4: Donnie Schoenrock, an alderman on the Jackson City Council, was the top vote-getter (121 votes, 30.95 percent), with Phil Nasby, who currently serves on the Jackson County Board of Adjustment, placing second (100 votes, 25.58 percent). Not moving on to the general election were Cheryl Brooks (94 votes, 24.04 percent) and Mark McCann (76 votes, 19.44 percent).