Sindelar, Jirik, Kratochvil reelected to council

By Chuck Kajer

New Prague voters went to the polls in record numbers Tuesday, and they returned Mayor Craig S. Sindelar to office by a surprisingly narrow margin. They also returned Jim Kratochvil and Duane Jirik to the city council for four more years and gave a resounding no to a proposal to spend $3.5 million for a new athletic complex and improvements to Memorial Park.

Voting was steady most of the day, with New Prague's Ward II, which covers the Scott County side of the community, reaching 1,000 voters by 1:30 p.m. One election judge in precinct II said more than 400 voters registered on Election Day.

Voter turnout in New Prague and in Scott County was at 103 percent. Voter turnout is calculated by dividing the total number of voters by the number registered as of 7 a.m. on Election Day. Due to the growth of the area, many area precincts were above the 100 percent threshold. Le Sueur County had 95.4 percent turnout, and Rice County had 88.3 percent.

City results

When the counting was done, about 8:45 p.m., Sindelar had won reelection to his third term with 1,510 votes, or 53.5 percent. Challenger Jeff Drabant had 1,312 votes, for 46.5 percent.

In the city council race, incumbents Jim Kratochvil had 1,846 votes, or 38.2 percent, and Duane Jirik had 1,803 votes, or 37.3 percent. Challengers were Mark Orvik, who had 672 votes, or 13.9 percent, and William Macris had 516 votes, or 10.7 percent.

The park referendum had 1,848 no votes (63.4 percent) and 1,067 yes (36.6 percent).

Lonsdale voters also said no to a referendum, this one for a community center. A two-part question called for $3.95 million for a community center, including a water park, library, meeting and recreational facilities, and question 2 would have added $850,000 for an outdoor ice rink, warming house and other features. Question 1 failed by a 2-to-1 margin, with 795 votes against (66.9 percent) and 394 in favor (33.1 percent). Question 2, which was contingent on Question 1 passing, failed with 808 no votes (69.4 percent) and 357 yes (30.6 percent).

County races

There were three county commissioner races on the ballot in the New Prague area. The closest was in Scott County District 2, which includes Cedar Lake, New Market and Credit River townships, along with the cities of New Market, Elko and part of Savage. Incumbent Bob Vogel of New Market received 5,297 votes (51.1 percent), while challenger Tom Wolf of Savage received 5,025 votes (48.5 percent). In Rice County District 5, which includes the northwestern portion of the county, incumbent Jim Brown of Lonsdale received 3,427 votes (57.15 percent) while challenger Kathleen Doran-Norton received 2,548 votes (42.49 percent). In Le Sueur County, District 1, which includes the New Prague-Montgomery area, incumbent Terry Hayes of Montgomery was unopposed, receiving 2,219 votes.

The makeup of the Rice County Board will change significantly, as a court-ordered reapportionment meant all five races were on the ballot this year. Incumbent Heather Robins lost to challenger Jake Gillen in District 1 and in District 3, two incumbents faced off, with Milt Plaisance winning over Donald Olson. In District 2, Jessica Peterson defeated Dan Freeman and in District 4 Steven Bauer defeated David Albers. That means only Plaisance and Brown will remain on the board with the new year.

There was one other race in Scott County, in District 4, where Barbara Marschall won reelection over David Beer. In Le Sueur County District 3, incumbent commissioner Tom Doherty was unopposed.

House races

All three incumbent members were easily returned to the House of Representatives. In District 25A, Laura Brod (R-New Prague) defeated Bruce Bjork (DFL-Le Sueur) 12,478 to 7,876. Brod carried all but four precincts, the two Le Sueur precincts and cities of Kasota and Kilkenny.

In District 25B, incumbent Ray Cox (R-Northfield) won his rematch against David Bly (DFL-Northfield). Cox won all but seven of the 21 precincts, with five of the eight Northfield precincts, along with Shieldsville Township and the Rice County portion of the city of Dennison going with Bly. The vote total was 11,433 to 10,847.

In District 35B, Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) defeated Ashley Sierra (DFL-Savage) by a vote total of 14,167 to 8,197. Buesgens won all 14 precincts.

Statewide the DFL picked up several seats from the Republicans, making the Republican advantage in the House at about two seats at press time.

Federal races

In the U.S. House of Representatives incumbent John Kline (R-Lakeville) defeated Teresa Daly (DFL-Burnsville). With all but one precinct reporting, Kline had a 56-44 percent advantage.

Minnesota backed Democrat John F. Kerry in the presidential race. With 93.3 percent of the precincts reporting, 50.8 percent of Minnesotans voted for Kerry, while 47.9 percent went with President Bush. Locally, the numbers were different in two of three counties. Scott County had 36,055 votes, or 59.5 percent of the vote, for Bush. Le Sueur County had 7,742 votes, or 53.7 percent for Bush, and Rice County had 16,425 votes, or 53.4 percent voting for Kerry.

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