State, local candidates to face off in primary election Aug. 9

Statewide primaries take place on Aug. 9, voters in the Bemidji area will decide who proceeds to the general election for the local races for Bemidji City Council's At-Large seat, Beltrami County Board's District 2 seat and Beltrami County Sheriff.

Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to vote in the primary elections, determining which candidates will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.
(Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI — Voters across Minnesota will go to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to vote in the primary elections that will determine which candidates advance to the general election in November.

For voters in the Bemidji area, the local races that will be included in the primary are the Bemidji City Council At-Large seat, the Beltrami County Board’s District 2 seat and the race for Beltrami County Sheriff.

Broader races will include a primary for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, as well as primary elections for state governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

Also on the ballot, will be a primary for Minnesota’s Senate District 2, but this race will not be canvassed since one of the two candidates was found to be ineligible to run for the district due to not meeting residency requirements.

To participate in the primary through voting in person on Aug. 9, city voters can go to their designated polling places, divided by ward:


  • Ward 1, the American Indian Resource Center at 1630 Birchmont Drive, NE.
  • Ward 2, the Bemidji National Guard Armory at 1430 23rd St. NW.
  • Ward 3, the Boys and Girls Club at 1600 Minnesota Ave. NW.
  • Ward 4, City Hall at 317 Fourth St. NW.
  • Ward 5, Northwest Technical College, commons area at 905 Grant Ave. SE.

Polling places for the primaries will open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, and will remain open until 8 p.m. Any individual in line before 8 p.m. will be able to vote, even if they have not reached the front of the line by that time.
Voter registration forms are available at the County Administration Building in Bemidji, local city halls, post offices and libraries. Registration can also be done online with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Applications for absentee ballots can be found at the Auditor-Treasurer’s office, also in the County Administration Building. They can also be requested by email , by phone at (218) 333-8448, or online.

For those out of the country or on active military duty, the Federal Voting Assistance Program is available.

Local primaries

There are four candidates running for the At-Large position on the Bemidji City Council:

  • Daniel Jourdain, the incumbent and an employment specialist for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
  • Pam Dreyer, a semi-retired UPS employee and skating coach.
  • Ron Johnson, the current representative of Ward 3 on the city council, and a promotion manager for Lakeland PBS.
  • Audrey Thayer, the current representative of Ward 1 on the city council, and an instructor at Leech Lake Tribal College.

Five candidates are vying for the District 2 seat on the Beltrami County Board:

  • Adam Bommersbach, a food, pools and lodging inspector for the state of Minnesota.
  • Joe Gould, a sixth-grade teacher in the Cass Lake-Bena School District.
  • Don Heinonen, a fleet shop manager in Bemidji.
  • James Ravnikar, the director of finance and human resources at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School.
  • Darren Tobey, the owner of Arrowhead Glass in Bemidji.

There are three candidates for Beltrami County Sheriff included in the primary:

  • Bidal Duran, a Hubbard County narcotics investigator and former Bemidji police officer.
  • Jason Riggs, a captain with the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office.
  • Jarrett Walton, the chief deputy sheriff for the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office.

For Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, there are two Republican candidates in the primary:

  • Pete Stauber, the incumbent and a retired law enforcement officer from Duluth.
  • Harry Robb Welty, a former Duluth teacher and school board member.

For the same congressional seat, there are two candidates from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party:


  • John Munter, a retired Delta Airlines employee, currently living in near Grand Rapids.
  • Jen Shultz, the current representative for Minnesota House District 7A, from Duluth.

The DFL candidates for Minnesota Governor and Lieutenant Governor are Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan; and Ole Savior and Julia Parker. Republican candidates are Scott Jenson and Matt Birk; Joyce Lynne Lacey and Kent Edwards.
Also for the governor’s race are candidates for the Grassroots, Legalize Cannabis Party Darrell Paulsen and Ed Engelmann; and Steve Patterson and Matt Huff. Also in the primary are candidates for the Legal Marijuana Now Party: Chris Wright and L.C. Lawrence Converse; and James McCaskel and David Sandbeck.

For the primary races for Minnesota Secretary of State, there are two DFL candidates, Steve Carlson and Steve Simon, and two Republican candidates, Erick van Mechelen and Kim Crockett.

The primary for Attorney General includes two DFL candidates, Keith Ellison and Bill Dahn, and three Republican candidates, Sharon Anderson, Jim Schultz and Doug Wardlow.

Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
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