Filings fill up South-West primary races

Some incumbents will be missing from ballot


The first round of 2018 candidate filing closed June 5 and races for several South-West coverage cities are set.

Republican Jason Lewis is running for his second term in the U.S. House representing the 2nd Congressional District. He will once again face off against DFLer Angie Craig. Lewis won the 2016 election with roughly 47 percent of the vote, edging Craig, who received 45 percent.

In the race for House District 52A, Rick Hansen, DFL, is running for re-election against GOP candidate Beth Arnston. Hansen was first elected back in 2004. 

Republican Regina Barr won her first term representing House District 52B in 2016. Her DFL opponent this go around will be Ruth Richardson.

In House District 54A, Republican Keith Franke is running for a second term against DFLer Anne Claflin. 


Local races

Kathleen Gaylord, who currently is chair of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, is running for re-election in District 2, which includes South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Sunfish Lake and parts of Inver Grove Heights. Gaylord was has been serving on the board since 2003. Current South St. Paul City Council member Todd Podgorski is running against Gaylord. 

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie are running unopposed to keep their positions.

After running unopposed in 2016, Inver Grove Heights Mayor George Tourville, who has been mayor for almost 16 years, is again seeking re-election and will appear on the Aug. 14 primary ballot against challengers Dave Casto, Jarid Friese, Greg Grover and Jonathan Weber.

In the Inver Grove Heights City Council race, which will also appear on the primary ballot, incumbents Rosemary Piekarski Krech and Paul Hark are running to hold onto their seats against Brenda Dietrich, Daniel Hirschey, Todd Kruse, Tony Scales, Loerane Surma-Heine and John Weiser.

There are three seats up for election on the South St. Paul City Council. B.E. “Bernie” Beermann, Adam Bossert, Isaac Contreras, Sharon Dewey, Joe Kaliszewski, Thomas Miller Jr., Joanne Rothecker-Woods, Max Wallin and Michael Zellmer are running against incumbent Tom Seaberg. The South St. Paul slate of candidates will also be winnowed through the primary. Council member Marilyn Rothecker is not running for re-election.

Filing for other local elections, including school board and cities where primaries are not held, opens July 31. Election Day is Nov. 6.

West St. Paul council election missing incumbents

After a tense past few months on the West St. Paul City Council, eyes are on the 2018 election. 

Mayor Jenny Halverson announced at the end of April she won’t be running for re-election, and both names on the mayoral ballot should be familiar to residents. 

Current council members Dave Napier and Anthony Fernandez have thrown their hats in the race. Both Napier, who is in his second term, and Fernandez, who is in his first term on the council, were elected to serve on the council through 2020.

Incumbent council member Dick Vitelli is the only person who filed to run in Ward 1, while the incumbents in wards 2 and 3, council members Ed Iago and John Bellows, are not seeking re-election. Bellows found himself at the center of allegations of sexism after the April 23 council meeting. 

John Justen, Jim Probst and Tara Wright are running for the open seat in Ward 2, while Wendy Berry, Lisa Eng-Sarne, David Meisinger, a former West St. Paul mayor, and John Ramsay are running for the open Ward 3 seat.

Berry announced her intention to run at the May 14 coucnil meeting, where women showed up in force to push back against Bellows.

“I’ve decided to do the only thing I know how to do: to get involved where these hidden rules can’t get in the way — I’m going to run for city council,” said Berry.

Meisinger has served as mayor twice: once from 2001-2003 and a second time from 2015-2017. He lost the 2016 mayoral election to Halverson, who at the time was a council member. 

The candidates for the wards 2 and 3 seats will be on the Aug. 14 primary ballot.


— Hannah Burlingame

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