Other than mayor, A.L. City Council incumbents are unopposed in races

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Three incumbent Albert Lea City Council members will be unopposed in this fall’s election after the filing period closed Tuesday without any other city residents filing for office.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker, 4th Ward Councilor Reid Olson and 6th Ward Councilor Al “Minnow” Brooks are all uncontested in their attempts to seek another term on the council. Council terms are for four years.

Baker was elected to the council in 2006. He said he decided to seek re-election because of several reasons, one of which is that he has enjoyed meeting people in his ward and in the community.

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He said he has made communication between the people in the community a priority, and he thinks he can be as effective, if not more effective, as he’s been during his first four years in office.

He also has a focus on the revitalization of the downtown area.

Olson, who was also elected in 2006, said he decided to seek re-election because he wants to help the city continue down a path of success.

Some of the successes that have happened since he’s been in office include getting the bonding money needed to clean up the North Edgewater Park landfill site, working with the developers of Wedgewood Cove to bring the clubhouse and golf course to Albert Lea, re-stabilizing Katherine Island and installing the new bridge there, and getting the Brookside Trail up to Pioneer Park, he said.

Brooks, who was first elected as 6th Ward councilor in 1998, said he decided to seek re-election because he thinks he can still make a difference.

He said he thinks he has done a good job as a city councilor in the past, and he thinks he represents his ward well.

The following is a rundown of other candidates who filed for local, state and federal offices:

Albert Lea mayor

The race for Albert Lea mayor will see more competition than the rest of the council seats, with three candidates filing by the deadline at the end of Tuesday.

The candidates include current Mayor Mike Murtaugh, 1st Ward Councilor Vern Rasmussen and former 5th Ward Councilor John Severtson. Murtaugh and Rasmusen both reside in the 1st Ward, and Severtson still resides in the 5th.

The candidates will be narrowed down to two on Aug. 10 during the state-designated primary.

Since Murtaugh ran for mayor in 2008, he has campaigned on the importance of the city living within its means.

He said he thinks the City Council has done this in the last two years and that he wouldn’t feel right walking away from the position in the middle of some potentially difficult decisions.

He pointed out that there also has been some progress in transparency of the council’s Thursday preagenda workshop, in which city staff are now publishing an agenda ahead of time for the public.

Rasmussen said he decided to run for mayor because of his love for Albert Lea.

He said he thinks one of his strong points is that he can bring together different groups that are working on an issue, whether it’s the community or City Council.

He described himself as progressive and said he is concerned about the budget and the balance that needs to be found.

“I think they know who I am,” Rasmussen said in May after filing. “My track record will speak for itself. If that’s what they want, that’s what they want.”

If it does not work out as mayor, he will continue his term as 1st Ward city councilor, which is not up for election this year.

Severtson, who previously served two terms on the council as 5th Ward councilor, said he decided to run for mayor because he thinks there needs to be a change in the way people are looking at the city.

He has also talked about the value of good communication between the council and the community.

One of Severtson’s other major sticking points is concerning the Albert Lea Port Authority. In the past, he has shown concern about how this entity was formed and how it is being run. He said he still has those concerns.

State Senate

District 24

Incumbent Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, stands unopposed for this seat.

District 26

Republican Mike Parry of Waseca — who won a special election to become senator in January after Sen. Dick Day resigned — will face off against Alex DeMarco, DFL-Faribault.

District 27

Austin school board member Kathy Green, R-Austin, will face off against incumbent Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin.

State House of Representatives

District 24A

Incumbent Rep. Bob Gunter, R-Fairmont, who is the assistant minority leader in the state House of Representatives, will face Steven Fausch, DFL-Fairmont for this seat.

District 24B

Three candidates have filed for this seat, including incumbent House Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center; Mark Meyer, IP-Lake Crystal; and Joan Muth-Milks, DFL-Wells.

District 26A

Republican Mike Parry of Waseca — who won a special election to become senator in January after Sen. Dick Day resigned — will run against Alex DeMarco, DFL-Faribault).

District 26B

Incumbent House Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault, will run against Dan Kaiser, R-Medford, for this seat.

District 27A

Republican candidate Rich Murray, of Albert Lea, has filed against incumbent DFL Rep. Robin Brown of Moscow Township.

District 27B

Incumbent House Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, is running against Jennifer Gumbel, R-Leroy for this position.

Governor and Lt. Governor

Thirteen governor and lieutenant governor pairs have filed for this office.

Candidates include the following Republican candidates:

Bob Carney Jr. and William McGaughey

Leslie Davis and Gregory K. Soderberg

Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks

Ole’ Savior and Todd “Elvis” Anderson

The following are the Independence Party candidates:

Rob Hahn and Thomas Harens

Tom Horner and James Mulder

Phil Ratte’ and Gayle-Lynn Lemaster

John Uldrich and Stephen Williams

Rahn Workcuff and Mark Workcuff

The following are the DFL candidates:

Margaret Anderson-Kelliher

Mark Dayton and Yvonne Prettner Solon

Matt Entenza and Robyne Robinson

Peter Idusogie and Lady Jayne Fontaine

Attorney General

Two Republican candidates, two DFL candidates and one Independence Party candidate have filed for this position.

The candidates include Sharon Anderson, R-St. Paul; Chris Barden, R-Edina; Bill Dahn, IP-Landfall; Leo Meyer, DFL-Minneapolis; and Lori Swanson, DFL-Eagan.

Swanson is the incumbent candidate.

State Auditor

Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, R-Dellwood, is running against incumbent State Auditor Rebecca Otto, DFL-St. Croix.

Secretary of State

Four people have filed for this position, including Jual Carlson, IP-Karlstad; Dick Franson, DFL-Minneapolis; Mark Ritchie, DFL-Minneapolis; and Dan “Doc” Severson, R-Sauk Rapids.

Ritchie is the incumbent.

1st Congressional District

Incumbent Congressman Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, will face off against Randy Demmer, R-Hayfield, and Steven Wilson, IP-Rochester.