Tom Kaase
Tom Kaase

Tom Kaase was elected sheriff in Fillmore County with 51.5 percent of the vote over Brian Miner, the closest race of the three contested county positions.

The two were seeking the position vacated by Daryl Jensen, who announced earlier this year he was retiring. Kaase is a lieutenant with the Rochester Police Department and a Fillmore County commissioner. Miner is a lieutenant with the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department.

The voting was tight as Kaase carried 19 precincts and Miner 18. Kaase was strongest in Rushford, where he had a 175-vote advantage while Miner did best in the city of Spring Valley, where he won by 75 votes.

The win by Kaase means a seat will open on the Fillmore County Board, as he will need to resign in order to take the sheriff’s position.

Fillmore County Auditor-Treasurer Shirl Boelter said that a special election would be held within 120 days of his resignation. If Kaase resigns later this month, the election could be held in March, although it wouldn’t be the same day as township elections.

Kaase could also wait until Jan. 5 when he is sworn in as sheriff to resign from his County Board seat.

There are several other variables, including the possibility of a primary election if more than two candidates file. The filing period is for two weeks, and would start after the county met requirements for advertising.

Commissioners will not be meeting on Nov. 11, as it is Veterans Day, but Boelter figures they would have a schedule set by Nov. 25.

In other races, Fillmore County Recorder Dave Kiehne easily won re-election over Mark Weidemann with 60 percent of the vote.

In the only other contested race for Fillmore County office, Harry Root was elected District 3 commissioner over Fred Scheevel with 54.3 percent of the vote.

Randy Dahl was re-elected commissioner in District 2, Duane Bakke was re-elected commissioner in District 4, Shirl Boelter was re-elected auditor-treasurer, and Brett Corson was re-elected attorney in the other Fillmore County races. They all ran unopposed. Brian Hazel and Timothy Gossman, also running unopposed, were re-elected as Soil and Water supervisors.

In the local House race, incumbent Republican Greg Davids won Fillmore County over Jon Pieper with 56.7 percent of the vote. He won the district with 55.9 percent of the vote.

The county followed state trends in many races, but not all of them.

Fillmore County voters preferred Republican Jeff Johnson over incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton 48.9 percent to 44.7 percent. Independence candidate Hannah Nicollet polled 3.7 percent. Statewide, Dayton won with 50.1 percent of the vote.

The county also favored Republicans Dan Severson for secretary of state (48.9 percent) and Randy Gilbert for state auditor (45.2 percent). DFLer Steve Simon was elected secretary of state and incumbent DFLer Rebecca Otto will return as state auditor.

The county followed the state in the U.S. Senate race, favoring DFLer Al Franken with 52.2 percent of the vote and DFL First District Rep. Tim Walz with 59 percent of the vote.

County voters also chose DFL incumbent Lori Swanson with 49 percent of the vote.

County voters favored Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright (54.3 percent) and David Lillehaug (50.5 percent) for associate justice to the Supreme Court, which mirrored the state preferences for those positions.