Willmar mayor’s race requires primary; Willmar City Council races all uncontested

Filing has closed for Willmar city offices. The races for Willmar City Council are uncontested. Three men filed for Willmar mayor, requiring a primary.

Vote hear sign
A vote here sign at a Willmar precinct
Tribune file photo
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WILLMAR — A primary will be required in the race for Willmar mayor after a third candidate filed Tuesday, the last day of filing for Willmar city offices.

Former Willmar City Council member Doug Reese has filed to run for mayor, joining candidates Zeke Dahl and Stephen James “Steve” Peppin.

Reese previously served 27 years on the Willmar City Council and four years as the Kandiyohi County Commissioner for District 2.

He has served as coordinator for the Willmar Area Faith At Work program since 2011. He earlier had served as national representative for 36 years with the Christian Labor Association.

Peppin, a Willmar business owner, is making his third run for public office. He previously ran for mayor in 2018, a race that was won by current Mayor Marv Calvin, and for Willmar City Council Ward 2 in 2016, losing that bid to Julie Asmus.


Dahl ran for mayor in 2018, losing out to both Calvin and Peppin in the primary.

Calvin is not seeking re-election as mayor after serving two terms.

Filings for public office continue in Willmar Tuesday ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline.
Willmar business owner Steve Peppin has filed to run for Willmar mayor in 2022.
WILLMAR -- Willmar newcomer Zeke Dahl has filed to run for mayor. Dahl moved to Willmar in May of last year to receive treatment for a gambling addiction. He now wants to make sure his new home will continue to offer those services and opportunit...

The primary is Aug. 9. The top two vote-getters advance to the general election Nov. 8.

The four Willmar City Council seats up for election this year are all uncontested. Two council members represent each of the four wards in the city, and one of the two seats is up for election every two years.

Councilor Andrew Plowman is not seeking re-election in Ward 1.

Carl Shuldes, a retired social studies teacher at Willmar Senior High School for nearly 32 years, filed for the Ward 1 seat. He also has served as a boys and girls swimming coach at Willmar, and is a 1985 graduate of Bemidji State University.

The other three Willmar City Council incumbents up for election this year filed for re-election.

Willmar City Council members Rick Fagerlie and Audrey Nelsen filed Tuesday, May 31, seeking re-election in Ward 3 and 4, respectively.

Ward 2 incumbent Vicki Davis filed for re-election earlier this month. Davis has served on the council for nearly four years, and was the previous owner of the Goodness Coffee Shop in downtown Willmar.


Willmar City Councilor Rick Fagerlie is seeking his fourth term serving Ward 3 after he filed Tuesday. He operates an appraisal and inspection service.

Councilor Audrey M. Nelsen also filed for re-election Tuesday. She worked in banking for more than 25 years and is currently employed by Peterson Brothers Funeral Home as a certified preplanning consultant/insurance agent.

Nelsen has represented Ward 4 since winning a special election in 2013. If re-elected, this would be Nelsen's third full term in office.

Filing for office in cities where a primary is possible, including Willmar, closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Candidates have two additional days to withdraw their candidacy.

The West Central Tribune was witness to many changes in 2022, from elections to education to infrastructure improvements.
Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin, during an interview Tuesday with West Central Tribune, reflected on what went well and what could have been better during his time leading the city.
From the commentary: Voters secured key victories across the country to make our government work better. The post-election chaos of 2020 did not repeat itself.
In November, Trump-backed Lake lost the governor's race to Hobbs but refused to concede and continued making unconfirmed claims about election improprieties on her Twitter feed.

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