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Races shaping up for primary elections

As the filing period for Carton County and the city of Cloquet elections came to a close Tuesday night, there were few real surprises, but a number of interesting races are shaping up nonetheless.

Candidates for federal, state, county and local offices who elect by ward (including Cloquet) were required to file during the time period between May 20 and June 3 in order for their names to appear on the primary ballot if necessary.

Among the key county offices up for grabs this year will be the offices of auditor, county attorney, sheriff, coroner, Commissioner Districts 2 and 4 and Soil and Water Conservation Districts 2 and 3.

One of the key races this year will be for the office of county attorney, with incumbent Thomas Pertler challenged by one of his former assistants, Dennis Genereau Jr.

Pertler first joined the Carlton County Attorney’s Office as an assistant in 1995 and has served in the top post since 2005. Genereau was first hired as an assistant Carlton County attorney in 1998 and left that post when he was appointed county coordinator in September 2011, a position that he still holds.

The other race to watch will be for County Commissioner District 4, which will be vacated by incumbent Bob Olean at the end of the year following one four-year term. Throwing their hats into the ring for that post are Terry Lund, Paul Mickelson, Pat Oman, Mark Thell and Susan Zmyslony.

Filing unopposed were incumbents Paul Gassert, county auditor/treasurer; Kelly Lake, county sheriff; James Nynas, District 3 Soil and Water Conservation supervisor; and Hubert Loy, District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

Incumbent Judge Robert Macaulay will also run unopposed in the Sixth Judicial District.

No candidates filed for the post of county coroner, which will be vacated this year by long-time physician Dr. Ricard Puumala.

The city of Cloquet will have two races that will go to the primary election. Incumbent Mayor Bruce Ahlgren will be opposed by challengers Mark Goad and Dave Hallback. Ahlgren has held the post of mayor since 1999.

Incumbent Ward 1 Council Member David Manderfeld will face challengers Dustin Mason and Jeff Rock. Roger Maki will seek re-election to the post of Ward 3 council member, and David Bjerkness is once again running for the position in Ward 2.

An Aug. 12 primary will be held for partisan races where more than one person from a party has filed or for non-partisan races (such as those listed above) where more than two people filed. If only one name is listed, that person will run unopposed in the Nov. 4 general election.

For a full list of candidates for local, state and federal offices, go to the website of the Minnesota Secretary of State at: