Few surprises in area primaries: Turnout low Tuesday as voters set fall races

Gazette photo by Avery Cropp
Two voters cast their primary ballots Tuesday night at Oak Park Heights City Hall. Voter turnout was very light in the county, according to county Property Records and Taxpayer Services Director Jennifer Wagenius.

The primary is over. Now comes the main event.

St. Croix Valley voters joined other state residents at the polls for Tuesday’s primary election to set the fields for the Nov. 6 general election in several state and local races.

Washington County voter turnout was about 8 percent, according to Jennifer Wagenius, director of the county’s Property Records and Taxpayer Services office. Based on information from past primaries, Wagenius originally estimated Tuesday’s turnout at 10 to 17 percent.

Among the races on the ballot were primaries for the U.S. Senate, Congressional Districts 2, 4 and 6, Washington County Board District 2 and Stillwater City Council Ward 2.

In the Ward 2 Stillwater council race, Tom Corbett and Ted Kozlowski advance to the fall election. Corbett received 264 votes, 46 percent, and Kozlowski received 179 votes, 31 percent. Cassie McLemore was third with 130 votes, or 23 percent.

Corbett and Kozlowski are running to fill the seat now held by Councilwoman Micky Cook, who did not seek re-election.

In the County Board District 2 race, incumbent Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek finished a distant second to challenger Ted Bearth. Bearth polled 1,420 votes, 56 percent, while Pulkrabek received 703 votes, 28 percent.

In Congressional District 4, incumbent Congresswoman Betty McCollum won a landslide victory in the DFL primary, out-distancing opponents former Maplewood Mayor Diana Longrie and challenger Brian Stalboerger.

McCollum faces Tony Hernandez, who defeated challenger Ron Seiford in the Republican primary and Independence Party candidate Steve Carlson in November.

In Congressional District 6 Republican primary, incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann easily out-pointed two challengers to face DFL candidate St. Cloud businessman Jim Graves. District 6 covers the northern third of Washington County.

In Congressional District 2, incumbent Rep. John Kline handily defeated David Gerson in the Republican primary and faces DFL challenger Mike Obermueller in November. District 2 covers the southern third of the county.

The next step after Tuesday’s primary is certification of the results Friday by the county Canvass Board. That group, made up of county Commissioners Gary Kriesel and Autumn Lehrke, Assistant County Administrator and Treasurer Kevin Corbid, Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens and the county court administrator, meets at 1 p.m. in the fifth-floor boardroom at the county Government Center in Stillwater.