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Campaign moves on to the next level for Kandiyohi Co., Minn., commissioner candidates

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WILLMAR -- With a roster of six candidates running for the Kandiyohi County District 4 seat, the top two candidates in Tuesday's primary election had already done a fair amount of campaigning in order to get the attention of voters.

Now Roger Imdieke and Alan Welle will have to step up that process a notch before they face each other in the Nov. 6 general election.

"I've always campaigned hard and this won't be any different," said Welle, a former legislator in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Imdieke said he will continue to talk to constituents, including meeting with local units of government to "get to know them better."

Imdieke, of rural New London, came out on top Tuesday with 389 votes and Welle, who lives on Eagle Lake near Willmar, had 303 votes.

Only the top two vote-getters proceed to the general election.

Donnell Williamson, a farmer from Irving Township, came in third with 191 votes, followed by Mike O'Brien, of Spicer, with 178, Karen Nelson, of Spicer, with 143 votes and John Nething, of rural New London, with 37 votes.

"They were all good candidates and all had good qualities," said Welle, who was pleased that he was one of the top two candidates to advance to the general election but disappointed with the low voter turnout.

With six candidates who had all been working hard to get people to vote, the 1,241 votes that were cast in the district -- which includes highly populated areas like Spicer, New London and New London Township -- was too low, said Welle.

"We're lucky to have enough people interested in the 4th District to make a run for it," said Imdieke. Given the time, energy and money it takes to run a campaign, the number of candidates was "impressive."

As the campaign continues, Imdieke said he will continue to carry his message of creating a stable economic climate in the community, preserving the area's natural resources and keeping pressure on the state to return local government aid.

Welle said keeping aquatic invasive species, for example zebra mussels, out of the county is the top issue for District 4, where about half of the population lives on lakes. If aquatic invasive species are not stopped, there will be "broad ramifications" to the county's water quality, property values and tourism that will have a negative economic impact on District 4 and the entire county, Welle said.

When asked to identify differences between the candidates, Imdieke said his involvement with farming, being a current business owner and being active in statewide and local organizations is an asset. He said his experiences are "more in tune with the district right now."

Welle said his legislative experience, including efforts to stop the state from passing on unfunded mandates to counties that have resulted in higher property taxes, would be an asset to the county.


Carolyn Lange

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

(320) 894-9750