Le Sueur is set to have a new mayor in 2021, while the current elected leaders in Le Center will run without opposition.
A number of mayoral, council and school district offices across Le Sueur County are up for election this year and interested parties had until Aug. 11 to file as candidates. The filing period for county races was from May 19 to June 2, so candidates on the ballot were already locked in for those contests.
Here is a summary of the seats in the area up for election this year.
Le Sueur County
There are two commissioner seats up for election in Le Sueur County in 2020. The incumbents in both are running unopposed.
In District 1, David Gliszinski, of New Prague, is running to keep his seat. And in District 3, John King, of Le Sueur, is running to keep his seat.
There are also three Soil and Water District supervisor seats up for election in 2020. Glendon Braun, Cletus Gregor and Jim Struck are each running unopposed for those seats.
There are three commissioner seats up for election in Nicollet County in 2020. The incumbents in all three seats are running to retain their spots.
In District 1, Marie Dranttel, of St. Peter, is running unopposed to retain her seat. In District 3, Denny Kemp, of North Mankato, is also running unopposed to retain his seat. And in District 5, incumbent John Luepke, of Courtland, is up against Bruce Beatty, of rural New Ulm.
There are also three Soil and Water District supervisor seats up for election in 2020. Timothy Braun, Bruce Hulke and Donald Hermanson are each running unopposed for those seats.
Two newcomers have filed to run for the mayoral seat of Le Sueur. Incumbent Mayor Gregory Hagg announced that he would not run for re-election due to facing serious medical issues.
“Though I would certainly be interested in continuing to serve as Mayor for the City of Le Sueur, I must now focus on some rather serious health issues that developed during my term,” said Hagg. “I do not believe it would be in the best interest of Le Sueur because of the uncertainty my future provides, I wouldn’t be able to lead meetings and continue to give 100% as needed to perform this position. We have wonderful people serving on City Council, dedicated to the future vision of this community, and certainly someone currently serving as a council member will step up. It has been my honor to serve as mayor for the City of Le Sueur and hopefully the majority of our citizens appreciate the effort that this City Council and City Staff have given in our attempt to make Le Sueur a better place to live and work.”
Shawn Kirby, who currently sits on the Le Sueur City Council, and David Scheiber have filed to run for mayor. Kirby’s candidacy was endorsed by Hagg.
Three regular council seats are open as well. Incumbents John Favolise and Scott Schlueter are running for re-election alongside two newcomers, Nick Loose and Dave Swanberg. Councilor Mark Huntington did not file for re-election.
Three seats on the Le Sueur-Henderson School Board are open and three candidates have filed. School Board Clerk Kelsey Schwartz is running for re-election, while newcomers Steven Cross and Brian Sorenson have filed to replace outgoing members Brian Kane and Erina Prom. Prom left the board to run as the DFL candidate for MN House District 20A representing the Le Sueur area.
The candidates running for mayoral and council seats in Le Center are going unopposed. Mayor Josh Frederickson and councilors Christian Harmeyer and Collin Scott have all filed for re-election while no challengers filed.
Three seats on the Tri-City United School Board are up for election and just three candidates are looking to fill the spots. Kevin Huber is running for reelection while Trevor Houn and Chris Vlasak are running to replace outgoing members Ashley Rosival and Krista Goettl.
The city of Kasota has two regular council seats open, as well as a special election council seat. Roger Renhelt and Richard Borglum filed for the two regular council seats; Cody Reutzel was the lone filer for the special election council seat; and Betty Ingalls filed to run for the mayoral seat currently held by Bridget Klein, who did not file.
Cleveland has two City Council positions up for election, belonging to Fred Danner and Glenn Beer. Beer filed to retain his seats, while Scott Bucholz and Mark Hintgen also filed.
Mayor Don McCabe was the lone filer for his seat.
“I want to keep involved in the town and keep Cleveland growing,” said McCabe. “I’m just trying to do my part to help the city out.”
Three seats on the Cleveland School Board are open for election this year — Jenny Hokanson’s, Chris Baker’s and Scott Miller’s. Horkanson and Miller both filed for re-election, but Baker will step down at the end of his term. Michael Omtvedt and Andy Jindra both filed as new challengers.
Absentee ballot record
The Aug. 11 primary election was the first big election in Minnesota since the COVID-19 pandemic upended normal ways of life, including how people voted. Though many voters still showed up to vote in-person Tuesday, hundreds of thousands cast absentee ballots — a record-setting total.
“We knew we were going to have an increased demand for voting through the mail when the pandemic hit … but I don’t think anyone foresaw the tidal wave we have,” said Hennepin County elections manager Ginny Gelms.
More than 423,000 absentee ballots had been returned as of Monday — more than the 294,797 voters who voted in the primary four years ago. Another 425,000 or so absentee ballots have been requested but not yet returned.
State law says mail-in ballots can count as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and are received by Thursday. With potentially hundreds of thousands of votes still left to come in, final results may not be available until Friday, rather than on election night as is usually the case. But many races saw big enough leads Tuesday night that late-arriving absentee ballots seemed unlikely to change the results.
While record numbers of voters cast their ballots by mail, thousands still turned out to vote in person Tuesday, a process that seemed to go pretty smoothly in most places.
Charles Beitlich voted at the community center in New Ulm Tuesday, where registration tables had plastic shields, the floor had stickers marking 6-foot distances, and hand sanitizer was abundant. He said the process was straightforward.
“I’ve always done in-person voting in the past. So I’d like to continue doing in-person voting,” Beitlich said.