Three candidates were on the ballot for District 5 Carlton County Commissioner, but one took a clear lead in the primary election, Tuesday, Aug. 11.

Incumbent Gary E. Peterson received 52.2% of the votes counted by Tuesday night, or 570 votes.

Peterson said he is happy to get through the primary and is looking forward to getting out and visiting with as many people as he can before the general election Nov. 3.

“I’m very happy and thankful for the people who voted for me,” Peterson said.

Alex French received 28.9%, or 316 votes, while Marci Moreland had 18.9%, or 207 votes. However, it still isn't certain whether French or Moreland will face Peterson in the general election.

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The final results of the election will not be decided for a few days, as the Carlton County Auditor's office will accept absentee and mail ballots through Aug. 13, said Kathy Korteum, county auditor.

The county sent out 6,036 absentee and mail ballots for the primary this year, an increase of more than 3,400 over the 2018 race.

Korteum told the Pine Journal the county added four mail ballot precincts since 2018, accounting for about 1,600 more mail ballots this year. During the day on Tuesday, the auditor's office had accepted more than 3,200 absentee and mail ballots.

Pine Journal reporter Jamey Malcomb contributed to this report.