BEMIDJI -- Aug. 11 will be a busy day in Beltrami County as voters will go to the polls to determine which of the many local candidates running will advance to November's general election.
The race for Bemidji Mayor alone has six candidates running for the seat. Not in this year's race, though, is Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht. Instead, Albrecht is running for Minnesota State Senate District 5 on the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party ticket.
To participate in this year's primary, city voters in the area will be going to the following polling places:
- Ward 1 residents go to the American Indian Resource Center at 1630 Birchmont Drive, NE.
- Ward 2 residents go to the Bemidji National Guard Armory at 1430 23rd St. NW.
- Ward 3 residents go to the Boys and Girls Club at 1600 Minnesota Ave. NW.
- Ward 4 residents go to City Hall at 317 Fourth St. NW.
- Ward 5 residents go to the Northwest Technical College commons area at 905 Grant Ave. SE.
The candidates who are running in this year's mayoral contest are:
- Robert Elliot, a 40-year-old real estate broker.
- John Henningsgaard, a 63-year-old retired teacher.
- Michael Meehlhause, the current Ward 1 Council member and Academic Advisor at Trek North School.
- Jorge Prince, 48, Chief Financial Officer of LaValley Industries.
- Ivan Smith, 27, recently worked in the health care field.
- Mark Thorson, owner of Mark Sand and Gravel.
For city council, there are several candidates running in Bemidji Ward 1. They include:
- Ryan Enger, a 33-year-old shuttle driver at the Bemidji DoubleTree hotel and BSU student.
- Laura Fairbanks, a 39-year-old BSU student studying political science.
- Joe Gould, a 33-year-old teacher at Voyageurs Expeditionary School.
- Adam Hellquist, a 40-year-old systems administrator in the information technology field.
- Audrey Thayer, a 68-year-old Leech Lake Tribal College instructor.
Representation for Bemidji Ward 2 will also be determined on Aug. 11 in a special election. The election was ordered after Mike Beard resigned the position in January, citing health reasons. Ward 2 candidates include:
- Josh Peterson, the Executive Director of Visit Bemidji.
- Jaime Thibodeaux, a 38-year-old environmental ecologist.
Bemidji Ward 3 is one of two city elections with an incumbent running for reelection. The candidates are:
- Incumbent Ron Johnson, 69. A five-term member of the city council and Promotion Manager at Lakeland PBS.
- Greg Kuhn, a 48-year-old Asset Manager at Peterson Sheet Metal.
- Paul Wiese, a 74-year-old who formerly served on the Northern Township Board.
Bemidji Ward 5 also has an incumbent seeking another term. The candidates include:
- Incumbent Nancy Erickson, 73. A retired accountant who's served 16 years on the city council.
- Don Heinonen, a 56-year-old automotive technician who's run for city council in 2014.
- Ernest "Joey" Oppegaard-Peltier III, 32, political organizer.
At the Beltrami County level, the District 5 election will be the only race narrowed by the Aug. 11 primary. The candidates include:
- Incumbent Jim Lucachick, 60. A three-term member of the Beltrami County board and a self-employed architect.
- Mike Bredon, a 38-year-old working in the videography field.
- Christian Taylor-Johnson, a 28-year-old BSU student working in the cultural resources field.
Voting locations for District 5 include the Boys and Girls Club at 1600 Minnesota Ave. NW and Northern Town Hall at 445 Town Hall Road NW.
Locally, Aug. 11 will mark the final day for filing in the city's at-large seat special election for November, too. The filing ends at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Tuesday's Primary will also narrow the number of candidates seeking federal offices, both for the United States Senate and House of Representatives. For U.S. Senate, the incumbent is Tina Smith, who won a special election in 2018 to finish the term of Al Franken who resigned earlier that year.
Along with Smith, the DFL side of the ballot will have Steve Carlson, Ahmad Hassan, Paula Overby, Christopher Lovell Seymoure Sr. Republicans, meanwhile, will decide whether to advance John Berman, Bob "Again" Carney Jr., Cynthia Gail, Jason Lewis or James Reibestein.
Winners will go on to face Kevin O'Connor, of the Legalize Marijuana Now Party, and Oliver Steinberg, of the Grassroots — Legalize Cannabis Party, in the General Election.
Congressional District 7
Democrats Stephen Emery, Alycia Gruenhagen and incumbent U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson will compete for their party's support while Republicans Noel Collis, Michelle Fischbach, Dave Hughes, William Louwagie and Jayesun Sherman will seek the GOP title. Rae Hart Anderson and Kevin "NeSe" Shores will also compete in the Grassroots — Legalize Cannabis Party primary. The winners will face Slater Johnson of the Legal Marijuana Now Party in the General Election.
Congressional District 8
Republicans Harry Robb Welty and incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber will seek a win in the primary. The victor will face Judith Schwartzbacker of the Grassroots — Legalize Cannabis Party and Democrat Quinn Nystrom in November.
For more information on the primary, visit Minnesota's Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting. For a list of who will be on the ballot and information on state candidates, visit ivoterguide.com. The polls for Tuesday's' primary will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.