County has big turnout for midterm elections; Republicans dominate state races

The unofficial results from the Douglas County Auditor's Office show that 19,807 voters cast their ballots. That's more than the 18,166 votes in the 2018 midterm elections.

Voters cast their ballots for the election at New Life Christian Church in Alexandria on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022
Lowell Anderson / Alexandria Echo Press
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DOUGLAS COUNTY — A down-to-the-wire Alexandria School Board race, contested races for Douglas County Board and Alexandria City Council, and a trove of absentee ballots sparked a good local turnout for the Tuesday, Nov. 8 midterm election.
The unofficial results from the Douglas County Auditor's Office show that 19,807 voters cast their ballots. That's more than the 18,166 votes in the 2018 midterm elections. The voter turnout percentage, however, was 72.74% — a slight dip from 2018's 73.1%.
The precinct with the highest turnout was Leaf Valley Township, which drew 298 of its 362 registered voters, a turnout of 82.32%. Others in the top three included Belle River with 81.6% and Carlos Township with 79.68%.
Absentee ballots was a popular option for the election. The auditor's office accepted 4,546 absentee ballots — a 33% jump from the absentee ballots in 2018.
Vicki Doehling, the county's election administrator, said that the three precincts that offered mail-in absentee voting only — Hudson Township, Moe Township and the City of Millerville — turned in 1,044 votes, which contributed significantly to the total amount of absentee ballots.

Legislative races

In the four state legislative races in the county, voters once again showed strong support for Republican candidates. Incumbent Republicans Tom Murphy in District 9B, Mary Franson in District 12B, Jordan Rasmusson in Senate District 9 and Torrey Westom in Senate District 12, won by margins ranging from 35% to 43%.
Here are the legislative results:
Minnesota Senate District 9
Jordan Rasmusson, R 3,329 (67.21%)
Cornel Walker, DFL 1,363 (27.52%)
With 17 of 17 precincts reporting (Douglas County results only)
District-wide with 91.26% of precincts reporting, Rasmusson leads with 63.46%.
“It is a great privilege to be given the opportunity to serve our communities at the state Capitol, and I am humbled to have earned the trust of the people in Senate District 9,” Rasmusson said in an email to the Echo Press.
Rasmusson lists his legislative priorities as tax relief for hardworking Minnesotans; support for law enforcement and first responders; and policies that support thriving rural communities.
“I want to congratulate my opponents for running robust campaigns. Whether you voted for me or not, I will work hard to serve you in the Minnesota Senate,” Rasmusson stated.
This week, Rasmusson will participate in the Senate Republican organizing caucus in preparation for the 2023 legislative session.

Jordan Rasmusson

Minnesota Senate District 12
Torrey Westrom, R 9,754 (66.58%)
Kari Dorry, DFL 4,232 (28.89%)
Ashley Klingbeil, We the People 657 (4.48%)
With 18 of 18 precincts reporting (Douglas County results only)
District-wide, with all precincts reporting, Westrom won with 68.01%.

Torrey Westrom
Torrey Westrom

Minnesota House District 9B
Tom Murphy, R 3,518 (71.23%)
Jason Satter, DFL 1,412 (28.59%)
With 17 of 17 precincts reporting (Douglas County results only)
District-wide, with all precincts reporting, Murphy won with 70.29%.
"I am grateful to voters in Douglas County and all of District 9B," said Murphy in an email to the Echo Press. "I am honored that they trust me to be their voice in St. Paul.”
Murphy said a strong campaign effort helped him win.
"Our team door knocked in every 9B town in Douglas County and the majority of voters agree with our concerns and conservative response," Murphy said. "Our friends and neighbors are concerned about inflation and rising energy costs, increased crime that’s moving to rural Minnesota, and unwanted programs in our schools like CRT and gender equity.”
When asked what he plans to focus on in the next legislative session, Murphy said, "Finding solutions to reduce negative outcomes for Minnesotans. Our voters want the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. More freedom and less government will be a step in the right direction.”

Tom Murphy

Minnesota House District 12B
Mary Franson, R 9,859 (67.42%)
Jeremy Vinar, DFL 4,751 (32.49%)
With 18 of 18 precincts reporting (Douglas County results only)
District-wide, with all precincts reporting, Franson won with 69.89%.
“I am honored to once again be chosen to represent the best in St. Paul,” Franson said in a news release. “I am so grateful for my friends, family, and supporters in District 12B who helped me throughout the campaign.
"As I return to the Capitol, I look forward to working to preserve our way of life — to protect Minnesotans' pocketbooks, ensure parents are heard in the classroom, and defend the unborn. Thank you for the faith and trust you have bestowed on me as your representative.”


Rep. Mary Franson

County bucks statewide trends

Douglas County bucked statewide trends by favoring Republicans for the four statewide races:
Gov. Tim Walz received 32.26% of the county's votes while Scott Jensen collected 64.93%.
DFL secretary of state incumbent Steve Simon received 35.94% of the county's vote while Republican Kim Crockett received 63.97%.
Julie Blaha, the incumbent DFL state auditor, received 29.09% of the vote in Douglas County while Republican Ryan Wilson picked up 67.18% of the vote.
In the contentious race for attorney general, Douglas County supported Republican challenger Jim Schultz, giving him 68.75% of the vote while DFLer Keith Ellison received 31.19%.
Douglas County played a role in the race for U.S. representative in the 7th District, giving Republican incumbent Michelle Fischbach 66.93% of the vote, well ahead of DFL challenger Jill Abahsain (28.28%) and Legalize Marijuana Now candidate Travis "Bull" Johnson (4.72%). District-wide, Fischbach received 66.95% of the vote.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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