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Larson and Graves move on to County District 2 race in November

WILLMAR -- Richard Larson and Bill Graves were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary race for Kandiyohi County's second district commissioner race.

Larson, the incumbent, and Graves, a political newcomer, will face off in the general election Nov. 4.

The third candidate, Paul Hoffer, was eliminated from contention.

Larson, who was first elected to the Kandiyohi County Board in 1997, received more than twice as many votes as Graves or Hoffer.

In unofficial results, Larson received 367 votes, Graves had 156 and Hoffer had 112 votes.

Voter turnout was light in all precincts, which had Larson concerned about how the election would turn out.

"It's always scary for an incumbent if the turnout is light," said Larson, who was waiting for election results at the Kandiyohi County office building in downtown Willmar.

Larson expressed gratitude for the people who supported his primary campaign and said he looks forward to working with those supporters in the general election.

"This is a job that I really enjoy," Larson said. He's vowed to step down when the job is no longer "fun" but so far it "hasn't gotten to that point yet."

Larson congratulated his opponents for a well-run race that was void of negative campaigning.

Graves said he was pleased with the results.

"I expected Richard Larson to be tough," Graves said. "And Hoffer did a great job," he said. "It was a very respectable race."

Hoffer said he was disappointed with the third-place rank that takes him out of the general election race.

"I gave it what I could," Hoffer said. "I wish them both good luck."

Two years ago Hoffer was defeated in the primary election when he ran for the District 5 County Board seat.

With the wide margin of votes in the primary race, Graves said he'll have to "hit the streets harder" for the general election and try to "convince people it's time to make a change."

But, Graves said, "It's extremely hard to knock out an incumbent when they've done nothing bad."

District 2 of Kandiyohi County includes all of Willmar Township, all of Willmar's Ward 4 and part of Ward 3.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750