Former Rep. Terry Morrow claimed a seat on the Nicollet County Board over St. Peter Mayor Chuck Zieman.
The vote tally came to 1,401 to 917, or 60 to 39 percent, according to unofficial results on Tuesday night.
The two ran for the District 2 seat, which includes St. Peter Ward 2, the south ward, plus Brighton, Granby and Oshawa townships.
“I’m very humbled,” Morrow said. “It’s exciting to have an opportunity to serve our community again and work for folks.”
The seat was open as Commissioner Jim Stenson is retiring after 20 years on the board.
Morrow and wife Martha moved to St. Peter in 1995 when Morrow began teaching at Gustavus Adolphus College. He served on some city boards and the St. Peter Public Schools Board before running for the state House of Representatives in 2006. After three terms, he left to become legislative director at the Uniform Law Commission in Chicago in 2013. In 2016, he ran U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’s First Congressional District re-election campaign.
“I look forward to using the experience I’ve gained in other positions to help the residents of Nicollet County,” Morrow said.
Zieman ascribed his loss to the success of Walz, who won as governor.
“A nonpartisan position turned into a partisan position,” Zieman said. “If Walz did well, which he did, then all the other shirttails attributed to him are going to do well also.”
In an Aug. 14 primary, Morrow and Zieman had 470 votes and 227 votes, respectively. Another candidate, Harry Jenness, finished third with 121.
Morrow and Zieman were diligent in door-knocking and getting their signs posted around the district.
Zieman said he had positive feedback, particularly from rural voters. But it was a numbers game — the district predominantly has voters in St. Peter, where Morrow won 65 percent of the vote.
Morrow said he had positive response in talking to people. He frequently heard comments about the amount of the county budget spent on human services. But, at the same time, voters wanted their neighbors provided for.
“The consistent message from people was to make sure that health care and other support for people in the county would be available,” Morrow said. “Especially, folks talked about mental health care, care for children and food stamps. The general message I received was I should do what I could to help residents and enable the county to do things that were fitting with the budget.”
He said he’s already met with the county administrator, some commissioners and others at the county, which will “ramp up” now.
“I want to work with Jim Stenson on learning how he’s served folks so well in his time with the county,” Morrow said.