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Echo Press Editorial: Start studying candidates now

Many voters wait too long – like a week before an election – before they start mulling over who they will vote for and why.

And then they may focus only on a couple of races, forgetting about other important positions that are up for election.

Consider this an early heads-up to at least jump-start your brain into getting to know who is running against whom. The filing period for many offices opened May 20 and runs through June 3.

To keep things simpler, we’ll focus on Douglas County.


Three state representative seats that include parts of Douglas County are up for election:

House District 8B. Mary Franson, R-endorsed, is the incumbent. She will face Jay Sieling, DFL-endorsed. The district includes the townships of Leaf Valley, Miltona, Spruce Hill, Ida, Carlos, Belle River, Alexandria, Osakis.

House District 12A. Jay McNamar, DFL-endorsed, is the incumbent. He’ll face Jeff Backer, R-endorsed and Nancy Taffe, R. The district includes the townships of Lund, Millerville, Evansville, Brandon, Urness, Moe, Solem, Holmes City.

House District 12B. Paul Anderson, R-endorsed, is the incumbent. No challengers have officially filed yet, as of Wednesday. The district includes LaGrand, Lake Mary, Hudson, Orange.

(The senators representing Douglas County, Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria in District 8, and Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake in District 12, are not up for election this year.)


Three county commissioner positions are up for election. Only the incumbents have filed so far: Commissioner District 2 – Jim Stratton, Commissioner District 4 – Charlie Meyer, and Commissioner District 5 – Dan Olson.

Other races include: sheriff – Troy Wolbersen, Rich Homan and Greg Windhurst, filed; auditor/treasurer – Char Rosenow, filed; recorder – Dawn Crouse, filed; attorney – Chad Larson, filed.


Several city council positions will be up for election. The filing period will be open from July 29 to August 12.

In Alexandria, elections will take place in Ward 1, represented by Virgil Batesole; Ward 2 held by Roger Thalman; and Ward 4 held by Dave Benson.

Other local elections include Brandon mayor, Brandon City Council (two positions), Brandon Township supervisor, Carlos mayor, Carlos City Council (two positions), Miltona Township (two supervisors) and Miltona Township treasurer.


Statewide offices are also up for election including governor, secretary of state, auditor and attorney general.


Douglas County voters will vote in a U.S. Senate race. Al Franken is the incumbent.

An election will also take place for U.S. Representative in the 7th District between Collin Peterson, D-incumbent and Torrey Westrom, R-endorsed.

We encourage readers to learn more about the candidates than their names and party affiliations. Attend candidate events. Go to their websites. Read questionnaires. Watch debates. Or contact the candidates directly. Be more informed when you step into the voting booth on November 4.