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Utke comes out ahead in Senate Dist. 5 primary

Incumbent State Sen. Paul Utke was renominated on Aug. 9 despite the party endorsement going to Bret Bussman.

Jaclyn Tomperi votes in the primary election Aug. 9, 2022 at Park Rapids City Hall, accompanied by future voters Cyprien, left, and Brixtyn Tomperi.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise
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Incumbent State Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids) won the Republican primary for Minnesota Senate District 5 on Tuesday.

Throughout the district, Utke received 5,024 votes (57.3%), defeating the Republican party endorsed candidate, Bret Bussman, with 2,834 votes (32.3%) and Dale A.P. Anderson with 906 votes (10.3%).

In Hubbard County alone, Utke received 1,148 votes to Bussman’s 423 and Anderson’s 76.

In November, Utke will face Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) challenger A. John Peters, who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s DFL primary. Peters received 2,462 votes district-wide, including 626 votes in Hubbard County.

Due to redistricting taking effect with this year’s election, Senate Dist. 5 includes the 19 southern townships of Hubbard County as well as all of Wadena and Todd counties and portions of Cass, Morrison and Becker counties.


There was no primary election in Senate Dist. 2, which represents the northern townships of Hubbard County along with Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Clearwater and Mahnomen counties and portions of Becker, Itasca and Cass counties.

Statewide results

In the Republican race for governor and lieutenant governor, challengers Scott Jensen and Matt Birk will face off against DFL incumbents Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in November.

Hubbard County vote totals were 1,727 for Jensen and Birk, 843 for Walz and Flanagan, 152 for Republicans Joyce Lynne Lacey and Kent Edwards, 80 for Republicans Bob “Again” Carney Jr. and Captain Jack Sparrow, 26 for DFL candidates Ole Savior and Julia M. Parker, and single-digit numbers in two minor-party races.

In primary races for Minnesota Secretary of State, Republican Kim Crockett won statewide over Erik van Mechelen, while DFL incumbent Steve Simon won renomination against Steve Carlson. Hubbard County totals were 1,136 votes for Crockett, 717 for Van Mechelen, 564 for Simon and 277 for Carlson.

In races for Minnesota Attorney General, Jim Schulz won the Republican primary against Doug Wardlow and Sharon Anderson, while DFL incumbent Keith Ellison handily defeated challenger Bill Dahn. In Hubbard County, vote totals were 989 for Schultz, 768 for Ellison, 603 for Wardlow, 310 for Anderson and 97 for Dahn.

Federal races

Jill Abahsain won the DFL primary for U.S. Representative for Congressional District 7 (CD 7) over Alycia R. Gruenhagen. She will face incumbent Rep. Michelle Fischbach, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary for CD 7. Meanwhile, Travis “Bull” Johnson ran unopposed in a primary for the Legal Marijuana Now party.

Hubbard County’s vote totals in the CD 7 primaries were 1,109 for Fischbach, 275 for Abahsain, 151 for Gruenhagen and 10 for Johnson.

Due to congressional redistricting, CD 7 now includes the southern Hubbard County townships of Todd, Henrietta, Mantrap, Nevis, White Oak, Straight River, Hubbard, Crow Wing Lake and Badoura and part of Akeley Township, as well as the cities of Park Rapids, Nevis and Akeley.


Jen Schultz defeated John Munter in the DFL primary for U.S. Representative for Congressional District 8 (CD 8), which includes the remainder of Hubbard County.

In the Republican primary race for CD 8, incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber defeated Harry Robb Welty by a more than 90% margin.

Hubbard County vote totals in the CD 8 primaries were 741 for Stauber, 338 for Schultz, 75 for Welty and 67 for Munter.

Election administrators and judges are part of the community. We are your neighbors and co-workers, people you see at church on Sunday or in line at the grocery store. I believe I speak for all election officials when I say we are honest citizens who want to serve our community to the best of our ability.

Importance of voting in the primary
The Enterprise asked several voters why they felt it was important to participate in the primary election.

"I think it's important for everybody to voice their opinion, especially at this point in the process,” said Park Rapids voter Tina Crabb.

“The world is a real mess right now,” said Miriam Bjelkengren of Straight River Township. “The country. I’m concerned. I want to make sure I vote.”


Hubbard Township voter Lorrie Preiner said, "I think it's important, because you've got to take a look at the candidates and then make a decision on who you think is best gonna represent your views and your values."

“The future of our grandchildren,” Jerry Preiner added. “Do we want a police state, or do we want freedom?

“It’s important to vote in the primary because it determines who’s on the ballot in November,” said Park Rapids voter David Overly, “and that determines who runs the country or the state, and that determines how well we live.”

“And if we live free,” Brenda Overly added.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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