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Election field set: Two primaries for city elections, one county race contested

BEMIDJI - A sitting Bemidji city councilor has entered the race for mayor.

Rita Albrecht, currently the city's Ward 4 councilor, filed for the two-year mayoral seat on Tuesday, the final day of election filing for state, county and city elections.

Albrecht's filing prompts a primary for the mayoral seat as incumbent Mayor Dave Larson and challenger Sachel Josefson both previously filed for election.

Also filing for election Tuesday was former councilor Nancy Erickson, who is seeking to regain the Ward 5 seat.

Erickson's filing will force a primary for Ward 5 as incumbent Councilor Greg Negard and challenger Phillip L. Nelson both previously filed for election.

In other Bemidji news, Ward 1 Councilor Kevin Waldhausen, who previously filed for re-election, announced Tuesday evening that he is withdrawing from the election. That will leave the Ward 1 race uncontested as Ward 1 resident Michael Meehlhause, former co-president of the Bemidji State University Student Senate, filed for election to that seat on Monday.

The race for District 4 on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners also became contested Tuesday as Timothy Sumner of Redby filed to run against incumbent Quentin Fairbanks of Hines.

The primary election is Aug. 14, with the general election Nov. 6.

The following is a complete rundown of all area filings.

Federal seats

Three men are seeking the District 7 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Democratic incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson.

Challenging Peterson are Bemidji resident Adam Steele, Independence Party, and Republican Lee Byberg of Willmar.

In District 8, Republican incumbent Chip Cravaack will face the winner of an expected DFL primary.

Three individuals have filed for election as Democrats, including Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Richard Nolan.

Senate District 2

In state Senate District 2, incumbent Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, is seeking his fourth term in the Senate.

He faces Republican challenger Dennis Moser of Clearbrook.

Senate District 5

Two incumbent senators are seeking re-election in District 5, which was newly defined this year due to redistricting.

But one of those senators must first survive a DFL primary if he is to return to the Legislature.

Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, will face Bemidji resident Laverne "Pedie" Pederson in the August primary.

The winner will face Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji, in the general election.

House 2A

Republican incumbent Dave Hancock, R-Bemidji, is seeking his second term in the House.

He is challenged this year by DFL candidate Roger Erickson of Baudette.

House 2B

There are no incumbent legislators in House 2B following redistricting.

Three candidates are vying for the position - a former state representative and two Republican candidates who will face one another in the August primary.

Republican candidates are David Collins of Park Rapids and Steve Green of Fosston.

Former state representative Brita Sailer of Park Rapids has filed for election as a Democrat.

House 5A

Two incumbent representatives are facing off for re-election to the House in 5A, following new lines drawn in redistricting.

Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, and Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, are both seeking re-election. Howes is seeking his eighth term in the House; Persell, his third.

County elections

Just one of the Beltrami County commissioner races is contested.

District 2 Commissioner Joe Vene is seeking re-election unopposed.

Incumbent District 4 commissioner Fairbanks will square off against Sumner.

District 5 Commissioner Jim Lucachick is seeking re-election unopposed.

City election

Of the four races for Bemidji City Council seats, two are now contested.

A primary election will be held for both mayor and Ward 5 to whittle the number of candidates from three to two for the general election.

For mayor, incumbent Larson will seek his second term as he is challenged by Albrecht, currently the Ward 4 councilor, and Josefson.

In Ward 5, incumbent Negard will face challengers Erickson and Nelson.

In other races, Ward 1 resident Meehlhause and Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson, who is seeking re-election, are running for those seats unopposed.


One of the races for 9th District Court is contested; the other three are not.

The contested race in Court 7 pits incumbent John Melbye of Bemidji against challenger Diana Sweeney of Bemidji.

In unopposed races, incumbent Shari Schluchter is seeking re-election in Court 1, incumbent Richard Zimmerman in Court 10 and incumbent Erik Askegaard in Court 13.

Soil and Water

Three people have filed for election in the Beltrami County Soil and Water Conservation District.

None is opposed.

Filing were Rob Knudson of Bemidji for District 2, Ruth Trask of Pinewood for District 3 and Jeff Haack of Bemidji for District 4.