Court ruling finalizes field for November 2 election

Monday’s decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court to allow Independence Party candidates on the November ballot finalizes the field for the November 2 general election.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer had ruled Independence Party Congressional Candidate Doug Williams, along with all other candidates from that party, had to be removed from the ballot as the result of a little-known law that required at least one candidate from the party to get a minimum number of votes during the September primary. Attorney General Mike Hatch agreed with Kiffmeyer’s interpretation, but supported the Independence Party’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Election Day, voters across the nation will go to the polls to decide between George W. Bush and John Kerry, along with several third-party candidates, for a four-year term as president. but there will be many more races on local ballots, ranging from city and township to congressional races. In addition, the City of New Prague will have a $3.5 million park referendum question on the November 2 ballot.

Besides the Park Referendum, the city will select a mayor and two city council members. Mayor Craig S. Sindelar has filed for a third term, and he will be challenged by Jeff Drabant. Incumbent City Council members Jim Kratochvil and Duane Jirik have filed for reelection, and they are being challenged by Mark Orvik and William Macris

In Helena Township, incumbent clerk DeAnn Croatt and incumbent supervisor Duane Deutsch have filed for reelection, and are unopposed.

Heidelberg has three seats up for election. Joel Kukacka is the lone candidate for mayor, and Melvin Hinderscheit is the only person to file for two city council positions up for election.

Three area county commissioner districts will be on the ballot, but only two of them feature a contested election. In Scott County District 2, incumbent Bob Vogel of New Market and challenger Tom Wolf of Savage won the three-way primary in District 2. Vogel had 246 votes, Wolf had 85 and Chris Bergman, who dropped out of the race before the election, had 29 votes.

In Rice County, District 5, incumbent Jim Brown of Lonsdale is being challenged by Kathleen Doran-Norton of Northfield. All Rice County commissioners are facing election this year, since a court-ordered redistricting plan was put in place.

In Le Sueur County, District 1, incumbent Terry Hayes of Montgomery is unopposed for reelection.

There are three area races for the Minnesota House of Representatives. In District 25A, which includes all of Le Sueur County and the City of New Prague and Blakeley Township in Scott County, incumbent Laura Brod (R-New Prague) is being challenged by Bruce Bjork (DFL-Le Sueur).

In District 25B, which includes northwestern Rice and parts of southern Scott County, incumbent Ray Cox (R-Northfield) is being challenged by David Bly (DFL-Northfield), in a rematch of a race that Cox won by less than 50 votes in 2002.

In District 35B, which includes northeastern Scott County, incumbent Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) is being challenged by Ashley Sierra (DFL-Savage). The district includes New Market Township and the cities of New Market and Elko.

In the Second Congressional District, which includes all of Scott, Le Sueur and Dakota counties, incumbent John Kline (R-Lakeville) is facing a challenge from Teresa Daly (DFL-Burnsville) and Williams (IP-Chaska).

The New Prague Times will do stories and candidate profiles on each of these races in its October 21 issue.

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