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County Board sees two seats flip, Craig wins City Council Ward 2 as county shows out at polls

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

From the time the polls opened on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m., through close at 8:00 p.m., the St. James Armory was packed with voters eager to make their voices heard.

As the polls opened, lines extended from the St. James armory to Johnson Repair.

"It was pretty steady for the first half an hour for both wards," said head election judge Joe McCabe.

McCabe estimates that around 80% of all registered voters in St. James voted.

McCabe also said that the 2020 election was one of the best turnouts he had seen in Watonwan County in the last 35 years.

The battle for St. James Council Member Ward 1 was won by Susan Craig. Unofficial totals as of Wednesday morning had Craig receiving 58.07% of the votes.

Daniel Rotert unofficially received 27.13% of the votes. Greg Lingbeek earned 14.35%.

Scott Runge and Michelle Mohlenbrock maintained their seats on the St. James School Board. Jason Monnens earned a spot on the school board and received the most percentage of votes at 29.45%. Runge earned 29.19%, and Mohlenbrock earned 21.00%. Luisa Trapero ended up with 19.76%.

The school board referendum renewal question passed with 55.78% of votes.

At the county level, two incumbent Watonwan County Board members were defeated by challengers. Ray Gustavson lost his seat to challenger James Pettersen. Kathleen Svalland was defeated by Dillon Melheim.

At the state and federal level, Watonwan County voters leaned Republican.

Unofficial totals had Donald Trump earning 3,100 (59.66%) votes to Joe Biden's 1,985 (38.20%). Republican Senator Jason Lewis received 2,749 (54.02%) votes while Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Tina Smith earned 1,959 (38.49%). In the race for U.S. Representative District 1, Republican Jim Hagedorn earned 2,696 (52.84%) votes to Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Dan Feehan's 2,112 (41.40%).

State Representative District 23B candidate Jeremy Munson, State Representative District 23A candidate Bjorn Olson, and State Senator District 23 candidate Julie Rosen all saw over 60% of the Watonwan County votes go their way.

Official Local Results in Watonwan County:

County Commissioner District 1   

Raymond Gustafson 401 42.39%

James Pettersen 545 57.61%

County Commissioner District 3 

Jim Branstad 784 97.51%

WRITE-IN         20 2.49%

County Commissioner District 5

Kathleen M. Svalland 448 42.30%

Dillon Melheim                 605 57.13%

Soil and Water Supervisor District 3 

Noren Durheim 4,305 99.45%

WRITE-IN         24         0.55%

Soil and Water Supervisor District 5   

Steven Sodeman 4,141 99.57%

Municipal Results (St. James)

Mayor (St. James)   

Gary L. Sturm 1,509 97.54%

WRITE-IN         38         2.46%

Council Member Ward 1 (St. James)  

Gregory Lingbeek 128 14.35%

Daniel Rotert         242 27.13%

Susan Craig         518 58.07%

WRITE-IN         4 0.45%

Council Member Ward 2 (St. James)  

Eugene Hildebrandt 672 97.96%

WRITE-IN                 14     2.04%

School Board Member (ISD #840) (Elect 3) 

Michelle Mohlenbrock 1,309 20.75%

Jason Monnens         1,857 29.44%

Scott Runge               1,860 29.49%

Luisa E. Trapero         1,233 19.55%

WRITE-IN                   48        0.76%

SCHOOL DISTRICT QUESTION 1 (ISD #840) 

YES 1,574 55.78%

NO 1,248 44.22%

Mayor (Butterfield)   

Harry Hanson 118 63.44%

WRITE-IN       68  36.56%

Council Member (Butterfield) (Elect 2)   

Kenneth Pankratz 139  53.26%

WRITE-IN             122  46.74%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (Butterfield Township)   

Mike Hall     127 98.45%

WRITE-IN       2 1.55%

Mayor (Darfur)   

John M. Schumann     28 73.68%

WRITE-IN                   10 26.32%

Council Member (Darfur) (Elect 2)   

Timothy Sonnabend    27   40.91%

Harlan Helget              31   46.97%

WRITE-IN                   8     12.12%

Mayor (La Salle)   

Harley Branstad 27 100.00%

Council Member (La Salle) (Elect 2)   

Gwen Branstad        21 38.18%

 Mark Allan Etienne 24 43.64%

WRITE-IN                10 18.18%

Mayor (Lewisville)   

Barbara Pfeil 78 84.78%

WRITE-IN    14  15.22%

Council Member (Lewisville) (Elect 2)   

Velma Albrent 66 45.83%

Dean Lewis    64  44.44%

WRITE-IN       14 9.72%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (Long Lake Township)   

Jerome Christensen   204  100.00%

Town Clerk (Long Lake Township)   

Sharon A Moody   220  100.00%

Council Member (Madelia) (Elect 2)   

Larry Schickling 669  45.05%

Andrew Gappa  786  52.93%

WRITE-IN           30    2.02%

Mayor (Odin)   

WRITE-IN 46 100.00%

Council Member (Odin) (Elect 2)   

Jason D Bolte 24 18.75%

Troy Kluver     43 33.59%

Susan Kluver  37 28.91%

WRITE-IN       24 18.75%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (Odin Township)   

Brad Ommodt 67 62.62%

WRITE-IN       40 37.38%

Town Clerk (Odin Township)   

Jo Ann Haugen 103 100.00%

Mayor (Ormsby)   

Charles A Waterbury 34 73.91%

WRITE-IN                  12 26.09%

Council Member (Ormsby) (Elect 2)   

Mary Portillo                  14 17.28%

Karen Curry Waterbury 29 35.80%

Justin Hansen               38 46.91%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (Riverdale Township)   

Lance Mikkelson 157 99.37%

WRITE-IN               1 0.63%

Town Clerk (Riverdale Township)   

Linell Jacobs 162 100.00%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (Rosendale Township)   

Chad Stradtman 143 97.95%

WRITE-IN               3  2.05%

Town Supervisor Seat 2 (Rosendale Township)   

WRITE-IN 23 100.00%

Town Clerk (Rosendale Township)   

WRITE-IN 10 100.00%

Town Treasurer (Rosendale Township)   

WRITE-IN 9 100.00%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (St. James Township)   

Vance Blomgren 145 100.00%

Town Clerk (St. James Township)   

Kelly Schulte 146 100.00%

Town Supervisor Seat 1 (South Branch Township)   

NonpartisanNeal Belgard 144 100.00%

School Board Member (ISD #81) (Elect 3)   

Pete Samuelson  70 35.90%

Stacie Simon       60 30.77%

Nathan Hesse      63 32.31%

WRITE-IN               2 1.03%

School Board Member (ISD #458) (Elect 3)   

Kenna Krahmer              163 31.84%

Jeffrey Nauman              155 30.27%

Paula (Kester) Heckman188 36.72%

WRITE-IN                          6     1.17%

School Board Member (ISD #836) (Elect 4)   

Kristin Haseman                  275 20.28%

Pam Xayaphonesongkham 380 28.02%

Susan Fast                          323 23.82%

WRITE-IN                            378 27.88%

SCHOOL DISTRICT QUESTION 1 (ISD #836)    

YES  211  39.29%

NO    326  60.71%

SCHOOL DISTRICT QUESTION 2 (ISD #836)

YES 197  37.81%

NO   324  62.19%

School Board Member (ISD #837) (Elect 3)   

Jennifer McLaughlin  976    41.36%

Benjamin Odegard    979   41.48%

WRITE-IN                 405    17.16%