Carlton County Sheriff, Cloquet Mayor to face challengers

The election filing deadline has passed in Carlton County, and the paperwork shows the county sheriff and mayor of Cloquet will run in contested races.

Voters fill their ballots at Precinct 3, Ward 1 on Tuesday evening. Jamie Lund/Pine Journa
Voters fill out their ballots in Carlton County in 2018.
2018 File / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CARLTON — Contested races for Carlton County Sheriff and Cloquet Mayor top the list of contested elections after the filing deadline for elections closed on Tuesday, May 31.

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake
Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake
Comstock Creative / For the Cloquet Pine Journal

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake has been in her post since she was appointed in 2005, and won her first election a year later. The Minnesota Secretary of State's office shows Jason Syrett, a police officer at the Moose Lake Police Department, is running for the position as well.

Cloquet Mayor Roger Maki will also face a challenge, as David Bjerkness has filed election paperwork. Bjerkness previously served as a Cloquet City Councilor for Ward 2 from 2001-2018, losing to Councilor Sheila Lamb.

File: Roger Maki.jpg
Cloquet Mayor Roger Maki
Dave Harwig / File / Cloquet Pine Journal

Other contested races in the county include:

  • District 4 Carlton County Commissioner Mark Thell will run against Susan Zmyslony. Zmyslony previously held the commissioner position, which encompasses Barnum, Wrenshall and Mahtowa, until Thell won the seat in 2018.
  • Warren "Bun" Carlson will face Erik Blesener in a race for the Ward 1 seat on the Cloquet City Council. Carlson won as a first-time candidate when he ran in 2018. Blesener previously served one term on the council and is a retired Cloquet Police Department officer.

Other filing information shows that Carlton County Attorney Lauri Ketola will run unopposed, as will Carlton County Commissioner Marv Bodie and Cloquet City Councilors Sheila Lamb and Chris Swanson.
Area school districts have open seats but according to the Secretary of State filing information, no filings have been made.


In school districts where a primary is possible, candidates had to file their nomination paperwork by Tuesday, according to the Secretary of State's office. Candidates where a primary is not held can file their paperwork from Aug. 2-Aug. 16.

Thompson Township also has seats up for reelection in November. The filing period runs from Aug. 2-Aug. 16, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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