Eichorn wins reelection bid for Senate over Albrecht

Albrecht and Eichorn for web.jpg
Rita Albrecht, left, and Justin Eichorn.

BEMIDJI -- Incumbent Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids, will old on to his seat.

With 98% of the estimated vote in, Eichorn, 36, was leading Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, 65, by a margin of 54-37% for the Senate District 5 seat. Between the two lead candidates, there were 36,225 cast with 21,486 for Eichorn and 14,739 for Albrecht.

Eichorn, a store owner in Grand Rapids, won the District 5 seat in 2016 over Tom Saxhaug, 20,240-19,687. Saxhaug, a DFL politician, had held the seat since 2003.

Before the election, Eichorn in a debate touted how he and other local legislators were able to secure funding for the Bemidji veterans home. During the October debate, Eichorn also noted that he's the only candidate in the race to be endorsed by law enforcement.

Albrecht, who has served as Mayor for four terms, is also the retired northwest regional director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In speaking to the Pioneer, Albrecht said if she won, public education would be a key part of her platform.


"I think the best way to create opportunity is to invest in our public schools," Albrecht said. "In Bemidji, one of our issues is the transportation funding isn't fully reimbursed and that's true in a lot of large districts like ours. So, we have to then take resources out of our classrooms. I want to make sure we're having the state's role be to step up and fully fund our schools."

Another candidate in the race was Dennis Barsness, a 52-year-old resident of Bovey. An Itasca County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor, Barsness ran for the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis party and earned 879 votes.

A fourth candidate in the race, Robyn Smith of the Legalize Marijuana Now party, received 2,198 votes.

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