ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Millerville goes blue for governor's race

It was the only precinct in Douglas County where voters preferred a DFL candidate.

Millerville 215.jpg
Retired teacher Bernice Korkowski of Millerville was surprised to hear that the tiny city voted for Tim Walz, DFL, for governor in the Nov. 8 election. (Karen Tolkkinen / Echo Press)
We are part of The Trust Project.

MILLERVILLE — Republicans swept Douglas County, winning by large margins every single partisan seat up for grabs in every single precinct during the Nov. 8 election — except one.

In the county's northwest corner, voters in the City of Millerville, population 100, narrowly chose to re-elect DFL candidate Tim Walz as governor. In every other race, Millerville chose the Republican candidate, except for state auditor, where it split evenly. Millerville residents wanted GOP candidates Michelle Fischbach for U.S. House, and Jordan Rasmussen for state senate; they chose Republicans Tom Murphy for state house and Kim Crockett for secretary of state, and Jim Schultz over Keith Ellison for Minnesota attorney general.

It was only in the governor's race that it went DFL. And it wasn't by much, only 22 votes for Walz and 20 for Scott Jensen.

Nobody the Echo Press spoke to said they voted for Walz — or even knew for sure why the tiny city, best known for its butter manufacturing, dipped its toe into the blue end of the pool.

"It's a little surprising," said Bernice Korkowski, a retired school teacher who has lived in Millerville all her life.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It might be that not everybody turned in their mail-in ballots," said her sister-in-law, Donna Korkowski.

This year, Millerville city was one of three precincts that didn't offer walk-in voting. The city sent mail-in ballots to eligible voters, who then had the choice of mailing them or dropping them off in person in Alexandria. They had a third option, which was to vote in Alexandria, and their ballot would count toward Millerville's totals.

Bernice's husband, Mark Korkowski, 65, said voters could have been responding to DFL messaging on preserving abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Millerville 914.jpg
Mark Korkowski thinks Gov. Tim Walz's visit to a nearby dairy farm in 2021 could have tipped the balance for the DFL in Millerville. (Karen Tolkkinen / Echo Press)

"You don't see any families like I came from, with 13-14 kids anymore. It's down to 2-3 kids. And that has to do with reproductive rights," he said.

Amanda Nelson, 30, who moved to Millerville four years ago, said reproductive rights is an issue for her. While she grew up conservative and is not a fan of abortion, she also doesn't feel like those who want a ban are willing to support women who have children. As she has aged, she has also met women whose lives were saved by abortion.

Neither she nor her husband, Grant Nelson, wanted to publicly disclose who they voted for. But Grant Nelson said he was turned off by candidates who were mean to their opponents.

"There were a lot of people on Scott Jensen's side I saw hate from," he said.

Millerville has historically been a conservative farming community. There's a big Catholic church where older residents attended elementary school — although attendance has dwindled, and Mark Korkowski said he doesn't see many young families anymore. The city has two manufacturing companies, a municipal liquor store and bar, and the creamery, known for the pounds of butter it produces by hand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Some of the older residents have died or moved and have been replaced by others who might have different ideas about politics, residents said.

Or, the vote might have been influenced by Gov. Walz's visit to a drought-stricken dairy farm just south of town in 2021.

"That's a big deal around here," Mark Korkowski said. He and his wife couldn't ever recall having a governor visit town. "I've never seen a governor in real life, myself."

Whatever the reason, there are still Millerville residents who simply don't like Walz and would never vote for him.

One of those is Michelle Latendresse, who has lived in Millerville for a year.

"Every time I hear his name, it's followed by something I disagree with," she said.

Top governor picks in all Douglas County precincts:

Alexandria Ward 1
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 909 votes, 59.68% of the vote
Alexandria Ward 2
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 900 votes, 66.77% of the vote
Alexandria Ward 3
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 648 votes, 59.72% of the vote
Alexandria Ward 4
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 505 votes, 55.74% of the vote
Alexandria W-5
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 574 votes, 55.35% of the vote
Alexandria Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 1,091 votes, 64.14% of the vote
Belle River Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 156 votes, 76.47% of the vote
Brandon City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 142 votes, 64.25% of the vote
Brandon Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 322 votes, 70.46% of the vote
Carlos City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 131 votes, 60.37% of the vote
Carlos Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 975 votes, 69.49% of the vote
Evansville City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 169 votes, 66.54% of the vote
Evansville Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 93 votes, 72.66% of the vote
Forada
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 64 votes, 65.31% of the vote
Garfield
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 95 votes, 67.86% of the vote
Holmes City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 342 votes, 66.54% of the vote
Hudson Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 397 votes, 75.05% of the vote
Ida Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 619 votes, 68.32% of the vote
Kensington
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 80 votes, 62.50% of the vote
LaGrand Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 1,526 votes, 61.26% of the vote
Lake Mary Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 482 votes, 67.89% of the vote
Leaf Valley Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 202 votes, 68.24% of the vote
Lund Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 109 votes, 63.37% of the vote
Millerville City
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan, 22 votes, 51.16% of the vote
Millerville Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 153 votes, 80.53% of the vote
Miltona City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 134 votes, 65.05% of the vote
Miltona Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 351 votes, 61.80% of the vote
Moe Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 329 votes, 68.54% of the vote
Nelson Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 57 votes, 86.36% of the vote
Orange Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 156 votes, 82.54% of the vote
Osakis City
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 414 votes, 65.09% of the vote
Osakis Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 253 votes, 74.63% of the vote
Solem Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 95 votes, 70.90% of the vote
Spruce Hill Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 177 votes, 78.67% of the vote
Urness Township
Republican Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, 127 votes, 76.51% of the vote

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
What to read next
The developer wants to increase the amount of units from 70 to 101.
More student housing is needed, according to the city and college leaders. The college’s first student housing project, Foundation Hall, has had 100% occupancy in its 150-bed capacity for each year since it opened in 2011.
Wake Up Alexandria is a Chamber networking event that is open to everyone. It offers an opportunity for attendees to learn about the businesses and organizations within the community.
Nets pulled this fall show that an eight-year-long effort to restore lake sturgeon to the waters of Big Stone Lake and Upper Minnesota River watershed is producing results.