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UPDATED: Eichorn defeats Pederson in District 5 primary

BEMIDJI -- In the race to determine the Republican Party's candidate for Minnesota Senate District 5, Grand Rapids resident Justin Eichorn defeated his opponent Lavern "Pedie" Pederson in a 1,485-542 vote.

Results from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website shows that Eichorn earned a 73.26-26.74 percent advantage, meaning he will go on to face incumbent Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids in the general election. Saxhaug has served District 5 since 2013 and was senator of District 3 from 2003-2012.

For Eichorn, Tuesday's primary was another step in a second campaign for the state Legislature. In 2014, Eichorn ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 5B, but was defeated by Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, in a 9,449-7,241 vote.

According to his campaign website, Eichorn is a lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids area, has a background in business and works at his family's third generation outdoors store. A graduate of Concordia University in St. Paul in organization management and leadership, Eichorn has also served on Grand Rapids' Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Tuesday's primary was the third time running for a party nomination in Pederson's case. Before 2016, Pederson challenged John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, for the nomination in Minnesota House of Representatives District 5A, and went against Saxhaug to represent the DFL in 2012. Pederson also ran for mayor of Bemidji in 2008 and 2010.

The 2016 general election will take place Nov. 8.

Matthew Liedke

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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