For some candidates, it’s just procrastination, scheduling conflicts or a flair for the dramatic, and they’ll get their names filed by today’s 5 p.m. deadline for being on the ballot this fall.
But with just a day left to file candidacies, Republicans hadn’t stepped up against Sen. Kathy Sheran and Rep. Kathy Brynaert, both Mankato Democrats, or against St. Peter Democratic Rep. Terry Morrow.
One potential challenger for either Sheran or Morrow — Republican business owner Peter Trocke of St. Peter — announced Monday that he would not run for either position. Trocke, who lost to Sheran in 2010, had previously said he was considering a run.
“I will focus my time on working with and assisting our Republican candidates throughout the region for continued Republican majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota State Senate,” Trocke said in a statement.
In city and county contests, Caroline Wood filed for the Blue Earth County Board’s 3rd District, challening Mark Piepho.
DFL needs four more
The Democrats are also short of candidates in four area races with the two-week filing period to get on the ballot ending at 5 p.m. today. Unchallenged Republican incumbents include longtime Reps. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder and Bob Gunther of Fairmont, along with freshman Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls.
A Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Kory Kath, an Owatonna teacher who made a late decision to retire after three terms, hadn’t filed as of Monday. Lutheran church administrator John Petersburg of Owatonna is the Republican candidate in District 24A, which includes the city of Waseca.
Then there’s the Independence Party, which will have no representation in legislative races in the Free Press coverage area or in the 1st Congressional District — unless candidates step up today.
Monday brought news, though, of several newly competitive races.
Paul Marquardt, a rural Eagle Lake Democrat, filed to run against Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, in Senate District 23 — which includes most of Blue Earth County (other than Mankato, Lime and Mankato townships, Skyline, and the city of Eagle Lake). The sprawling district also includes all or much of Faribault, Martin and Watonwan counties and parts of Jackson, Le Sueur and Waseca counties.
A retired plumber, Marquardt said term limits and job-creation are his top issues. As for Rosen’s signature accomplishment in 2012 — guiding the Vikings stadium bill through the legislative process — Marquardt said it won’t be a campaign issues because he strongly supported the stadium effort.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, is being challenged by 23-year-old Hutchinson Democrat Logan Campa.
And political newcomer Steven Shiroo made it a race in state Senate District 18, which includes Sibley County. Shiroo, DFL-Cokato, filed to run against Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson.
Congressman Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, also made his quest for a fourth term official on Monday. Republican challengers Mike Parry of Waseca and Allen Quist of St. Peter had previously filed and will face off in an Aug. 14 primary election with the winner advancing to the Nov. 6 general election against Walz.
Here’s a round-up of the other area races:
Voters will be deciding between school teacher and former Sen. Kevin Dahle, DFL-Northfield, and retired FBI agent Mike Dudley, R-Northfield, in the district that includes most of Le Sueur County, along with parts of Rice and Scott counties. Dahle was defeated in 2010 by Al DeKruif, R-rural Elysian, who decided to retire after redistricting left him in the same district as Rosen.
Another open seat, this one because incumbent Sen. Parry is running for Congress, will pair two Owatonna residents in a district that also includes Waseca. DFLer Vicki Jensen, a member of the Owatonna School Board, is facing Republican Vern Swedin, the former president of a Rochester-based company that sells satellite dishes and related technology.
Redistricting forced Republican Rep. Paul Torkelson to buy a lake home on Lake Hanska a few miles north of his St. James farm to avoid running against fellow Republican Rep. Cornish. The move also allowed Torkelson to run in a district that includes the bulk of the territory he represented in his two terms in office.
James Kanne of Franklin is Torkelson’s DFL challenger.
Wind energy developer Ryan Wolf, DFL-Le Sueur, is hoping to unseat freshman Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, the owner of a security business. The district includes Le Sueur, Le Center, Cleveland, the Lake Washington area and other townships in the eastern side of Le Sueur County, along with Belle Plaine, the north part of New Prague and southern Scott County all the way to Elko New Market.
English teacher and former Democratic Rep. David Bly of Northfield, who lost a razor-thin contest against Woodard under the old political boundaries in 2010, is the DFL candidate in District 20B, which has no incumbent representative.
The Republican in the race is Brian Wermerskirchen, R-Lonsdale, a legislative aide to DeKruif.
The district includes eastern Le Sueur County and much of Rice County.