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Updated: November 6, 2018

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Lehmkuhl Defeats Pietsch
In Paynesville Township, longtime resident Steve Lehmkuhl defeated incumbent board chair Don Pietsch 378 to 352 for a four-year seat on the township board. Longtime school board member Mark Dingmann ran unopposed for the other open township supervisor seat and was elected to replace retiring supervisor Harry Thielen. Paynesville Township voters also approved having the township board appoint the township clerk, rather than electing the clerk.

Thompson Re-Elected as Mayor
Mayor Jeff Thompson was re-elected in the City of Paynesville over councilor Alicia LaBeau 563 to 425 for another two-year term. (LaBeau will continue to serve the remaining two years of her council term.) In a four-way race for the city council, incumbent Neil Herzberg (554 votes) and newcomer Shawn Reinke (547 votes) were elected to four-year terms, over Paul Thielen (386 votes) and Bill Fuchs (208 votes). In the City of Regal, which had three candidates for two council spots, incumbent Janet Fleck (19 votes) and challenger Andrea Hiltner (13 votes) were elected, while incumbent Brandon Keller (11 votes) finished third.

Earns Seat, Keeps Senate in GOP Hands
Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) won the special election in Senate District 13, defeating Stearns County Commissioner Joe Perske 21,714 votes to 16,108, to retain the lone Senate seat up for election on Tuesday. (Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville vacated the Senate seat following the 2018 legislative session to become the full-time lieutenant governor.) Howe's victory kept the Minnesota Senate in GOP hands 34-33. The Minnesota House, however, which was a 77-57 GOP majority, is likely to flip to DFL control. Business owner and Rocori school board member Lisa Demuth (R-Cold Spring) defeated St. John's University professor Jim Read (DFL-Avon), 11,348 to 7,243, to replace Howe in the Minnesota House. Rep. Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck) won re-election in western Stearns County and Pope County, Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) won re-election in Kandiyohi County, and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) won re-election in Meeker County.

Soyka, Holien Win Sheriff Races
In Stearns County, patrol sergeant Steve Soyka (34,771) defeated Waite Park police chief Dave Bentrud (26,309) to become the new sheriff, replacing interim sheriff Don Gudmundson, who was appointed when John Sanner retired with the understanding that he would not run for re-election. In Kandiyohi County former deputy Eric Holien, who worked for the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department from 2002-2018, defeated chief deputy Greg Stehn 9,465 to 8,535 to replace retiring sheriff Dan Hartog.

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Paynesville Press
November 7, 2018

November 7, 2018
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