Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.
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BEMIDJI -- Local Minnesota House races remained close Tuesday night, with votes still coming in. With all 71 precincts reporting, Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate John Persell, 68, Bemidji, held a 8,434-8,430 vote lead over incumbent Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington. Meanwhile, in District 2A, 53-year-old incumbent Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook had a 62-37 percent advantage over DFL opponent Michael Northbird, 36, Cass Lake.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is on track to win a second term in office. So far, the 48-year-old, DFL-endorsed incumbent leads over Republican John Howe, 55, and 34-year-old William Denney of the Independence Party. At 9 p.m., results showed Simon with 60 percent of the vote, while Howe had 35.9 percent and Denney carried 3.9 percent.
BEMIDJI -- A pair of candidates with years spent in local government competed for the position of Bemidji Mayor on Tuesday. Incumbent Mayor Rita Albrecht, 63, defeated 79-year-old Joe Vene by a margin of 58-41 percent, with all six precincts reporting. Votes were 2,910 for Albrecht and 2049 for Vene.
BEMIDJI—A Minnesota Administrative Law Judge found probable cause in a campaign finance complaint filed against one of the Bemidji City Council candidates. Judge Barbara Case on Monday ordered that probable cause had been found in a complaint filed by Bemidji resident Robert Saxton against Don Heinonen, who's running for the At-Large City Council position. In her order, Case found probable cause that Heinonen violated two subdivisions of Minnesota statute related to campaign finance.
BEMIDJI—Finding solutions to Beltrami County's financial strain was labeled as one of the most important issues by both candidates running for a seat on the Board of Commissioners during an election forum Thursday. The race to represent Beltrami County District 1 on the board features two Port Hope Township residents, 50-year-old Craig Gaasvig and 59-year-old Natalie Grosfield.
BEMIDJI—There were few signs remaining at the Beltrami County Republican Party headquarters in Bemidji last week, with just a few small stacks leaning against the wall. But that's a good thing. "Those are all the signs we have left," Beltrami County GOP Treasurer Claude Sand said. "Almost all of our signs are gone, we've had to take some of our signs off the walls because of how many requests we've gotten."
BEMIDJI—The final days of campaigning for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party are focused on getting out the vote, so much so that they gave a statewide bus tour the title. On Saturday afternoon, the Get out the Vote bus tour rolled through Bemidji, bringing DFL candidates up and down the ballot to the plaza in front of the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues. Beginning on Thursday in front of the Minnesota State Capitol, the tour had already made several stops and more took place following the Bemidji event, with rallies in Grand Rapids, Chisholm and Crosby.
BEMIDJI—With time running down before the 2018 midterm elections, each hour is becoming more precious. So, Karin Housley, the Republican candidate in Minnesota's special election for U.S. Senator, is trying to use every hour wisely to get out the vote. On Friday morning, at 4:30 a.m., Housley made one of 18 stops in Bemidji as part of a 44-hour statewide tour. Joined by GOP secretary of state candidate John Howe and state GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, Housley addressed a crowd of Bemidji residents who are hoping to turn Minnesota red.
BEMIDJI—With redistricting on the horizon after the 2020 census, citizens asking questions at a candidate forum for Minnesota House Districts 2A and 5A on Thursday wanted to know how those running for office think it should be handled. The political event, organized by the nonpartisan Citizens for an Informed Electorate group, featured the four candidates running for the House seats. • Incumbent District 2A Rep. Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook. A 53-year-old retired Clearwater County Sheriff's deputy.
BEMIDJI—A campaign financial complaint made against a candidate for Bemidji City Council was reviewed by a Minnesota administrative law judge Thursday. The complaint was initially submitted by Robert Saxton on Oct. 23 in regard to a campaign finance report from At-Large candidate Don Heinonen filed on Oct. 8 on the city's website. In the complaint, Saxton alleges Heinonen reported an in-kind donation of $2,400 and failed to list the name or address of the contributor, a requirement of Minnesota statute.