WILLMAR -- District Judge Kathryn N. Smith appears headed toward retaining the Eighth District judgeship in Kandiyohi County.
With 75 percent of statewide precincts reporting, Smith had received 24,124 votes, 60.07 percent of the votes cast. Her challenger, Glen M. "Jake" Jacobsen, assistant county attorney for Renville County, had received 15,996 votes, or 39.80 percent.
The Eighth Judicial District includes 13 counties in west central Minnesota who are served by 11 judges. Voters throughout the district voted for all the judges, and most of the judges serve more than one county.
Judge Paul A. Nelson, the chief district judge who is chambered in Chippewa County, ran uncontested in the election. His vote total with 75 percent of the precincts in was 36,733.
Jacobsen, 53, of Bird Island, has been assistant county attorney in Renville County since 2002. From 1997 to 2001, he was the chief deputy county attorney in Mower County. He served as a municipal prosecutor, an attorney hired by Twin Cities suburbs to prosecute cases, and as a private attorney from 1987 to 1997. He earned his law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in 1987.
Smith, 60, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Arne Carlson in 1997. She is chambered in Kandiyohi County and also hears cases in Meeker County. Prior to serving as a judge, she was private attorney working civil litigation and family law. Prior to law school and her legal career, she taught chemistry and physical science at Willmar Community College, worked as a medical technologist and managed a large community hospital laboratory.