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Anderson, Kakac survive county primary

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Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Election judges brought in boxes of ballots to the Douglas County Auditor's Office on Tuesday night. The first precinct to report their returns was LaGrand Township at 8:45 p.m., followed by Holmes City Township four minutes later. The last returns came in at 9:50 p.m.3 / 3

The voters of Douglas County Commissioner District 4 have spoken.

They selected incumbent Paul Anderson and challenger Arlan Kakac in Tuesday's primary. Both their names will appear on the general election ballot in November.

Anderson received 305 votes and Kakac was a close second with 272, followed by a third challenger, Steven Hensley, with 130.

The turnout for the county board primary - the only local contest on the ballot - wasn't spectacular. Of the 4,880 registered voters in the six precincts, only 21 percent went to the polls, according to the county auditor's office.

Still, that was a little better turnout than other local precincts. Of the 23,239 registered voters countywide, 4,410 voted, which puts the turnout at about 19 percent - slightly above the statewide turnout of 15.5 percent.

Anderson is happy about moving on to the general election. "I'm very appreciative of those who supported me in the election," he said.

Anderson said that he would have liked his 5 percent margin over Kakac to have been a little wider and added that the low voter turnout could have been a factor.

"But it's a win," he said. "Now my work is cut out for me."

In the coming weeks, Anderson said his campaign will continue to stress his conservative approach to spending.

"Like I've mentioned before, I have an allergy," Anderson said. "I'm allergic to spending money we don't have. We've got to work together with the state, which I've been doing, on combining services and eliminating unfunded mandates."

Kakac said he was pleased and a little surprised at Tuesday's outcome.

"I really, didn't know, with Steve [Hensley] in the race, how things were going to go," Kakac said. "I appreciate all the confidence the voters have in me."

Kakac was especially pleased with how things went in Hudson Township, which he carried with 66 votes to Anderson's 39 and Hensley's 25. "That's where I did the most work and it paid off," he said.

One of the biggest campaign issues for Kakac is county spending. "I've heard from a lot of people who are displeased with the county going back and forth on issues and not coming to a sound decision," he said.

Kakac said he would work closely with other governmental entities to develop good working relationships.

Another important issue is protecting natural resources, Kakac said.

"I know that people around here are very concerned about the environment and wanting to do what's right," he said.

Kakac also mentioned the county board's split decision to close the channel between lakes Geneva and Victoria in an effort to stop the spread of zebra mussels. Anderson voted against the measure. Kakac said he hasn't made a decision on the issue yet.

"I need to do more research on that," he said. "We need to work with the DNR and the lake associations to come up with a consensus."

Kakac added that there are more environmental issues out there than zebra mussels. "We can't just focus on that," he said.

Although he was bumped out of the race, Hensley said he has "absolutely no regrets" about running.

"The only thing I'm disappointed in was the turnout," he said. "Words cannot describe how grateful I am to those who were willing to support me. I hope each of those individuals comes forward so I can thank them from the bottom of my heart; this was an experience I'll never forget."

District 4 includes Alexandria City Wards 1, 2 and 4, Hudson Township and the city of Forada.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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