Four primary elections solidify lakes area legislative field

GOP primaries in Minnesota Senate Districts 4, 5 and 9, and House District 5B, have finalized the legislative candidates for the November election. One senate candidate said he's excited to get out and meet as many residents as possible over the next three months.

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Becker County voters mark choices on their ballots during the 2022 primary election at Grace Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes on Aug. 9, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — Following four GOP primaries, the lakes area slate of legislative candidates are set for the November general election.

Senate District 4 GOP Primary:

  • Dan Bohmer — 73%, or 2,421 votes
  • Edwin Hahn — 27%, or 917 votes

Senate District 5 GOP Primary:

  • Paul Utke — 57%, or 5,027 votes
  • Bret Bussman — 32%, or 2,832 votes
  • Dale A. P. Anderson — 10%, or 907 votes

House District 5B GOP Primary:

  • Mike Wiener — 50.5%, or 2,100 votes
  • Sheldon Monson — 49.5%, or 2,060 votes

Senate District 9 GOP Primary:


  • Jordan Rasmusson — 52%, or 5,738 votes
  • Nathan Miller — 48%, or 5,385 votes

Dan Bohmer, a former member of the Moorhead City Council, defeated Edwin Hahn, a former chair of the Clay County GOP, 73% to 27%, and now focuses his attention on DFL candidate Rob Kupec, a former KVRR chief meteorologist. He also said he's looking forward to getting back out in the neighborhoods over the next few months and meeting people door-to-door.

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Dan Bohmer, 2022 candidate photo
Contributed / Dan Bohmer

"When I ran for city council, that's all I did was spend my free time walking around, knocking on people's doors," said Bohmer.

He also said he plans to keep his campaign positive and highlight policy differences between he and Kupec, and vowed not to play into the divisiveness between the state's two major political parties.

"If you step back, I think most of us, and when I most of us, I'm talking Americans, we're really kind of lumped in the middle, but the edges get all the attention," said Bohmer. "And, honestly, we don't worry too much about the edges ... if you look at Kupec's website and look at my website, tell me where we are really different, we kind of want the same things, it's just how do we achieve them is slightly different. It doesn't make either one of us worse than the other, it's just we have different ideas on how to achieve our goals."

He also said he believes in encouragement and opportunity in all aspects of life over handouts.

"Sometimes our over-willingness to help people is counter productive," said Bohmer. "I'm more in line with JFK, he'd be a radical right-winger if he were still alive today, his philosophy was, 'ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,' and that's just a foreign concept to most people these days."

Kupec also said he planned on running a campaign that focused on issues and substance, not political tribalism.

"I think there are considerable contrasts between Democrats and Republicans going into this election and I think a healthy debate about those issues would be good," said Kupec.


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Rob Kupec, 2022 candidate photo
Contributed / Rob Kupec

He also said he believes abortion rights will be a prevalent issue during the 2022 election and is one issue that provides a stark contrast between the two political parties.

"I hear very little about inflation and high gas prices, which are obviously a problem ... but I get a lot of women who are very angry about the supreme court decision," said Kupec.

Kupec said he supports a full choice decision between a woman and their healthcare provider. Adding, the vast majority of abortions are performed in the early stages of a pregnancy and late-term abortions are usually reserved only for medical reasons.

"The state should not be interfering in a doctor's decision and a patient's decision about what's right," he said.

Another highly contested race on Aug. 9 was Senate District 5: Paul Utke, an incumbent state senator, defeated two primary challengers — GOP-endorsed Bret Bussman and Dale A. P. Anderson. Utke received 57% of the primary votes, with Bussman and Anderson taking in 32% and 10%, respectively.

Paul Utke, 2022 candidate photo
Contributed / Paul Utke

Bussman received the GOP endorsement during the District 5 nominating convention, which left the incumbent senator to push through the primary season without the backing of his own party.

Utke, of Park Rapids, said redistricting gave him a lot more neighbors to go out and meet, but it's something he looks forward to.

"This district was, roughly, 65% new territory, so it was a lot like starting from scratch," he said. "It was new, and we weren't known yet, so we had to go out and cover all of our bases. The reception and help was wonderful throughout, and in the end kind of got what we thought was coming and everything was coming together really well."


Utke also said getting past the primaries was a goal, but now he wants to continue meeting as many people as possible in the coming weeks and months.

"It's a typical campaign now," he said. "The parades that are left, the events that are left ... we'll do all the maintenance and all the things we need to do and at the same time, I'm hoping to get out there and help others running in their own general election races. So, we'll be covering the state on the road just as much as we possibly can."

Legislative candidates for the Nov. 8 general election in the lakes area will feature:
Senate District 2:

  • Steve Green — GOP
  • Alan Roy — DFL

House District 2A:

  • Matthew Grossell — GOP
  • Reed Olson — DFL

House District 2B:

  • Matt Bliss — GOP
  • Erika Bailey-Johnson — DFL

Senate District 4:

  • Dan Bohmer — GOP
  • Rob Kupec — DFL

House District 4A:

  • Lynn Halmrast — GOP
  • Heather Keeler — DFL

House District 4B:


  • Jim Joy — GOP
  • John Hest — DFL

Senate District 5:

  • Paul Utke — GOP
  • A. John Peters — DFL

House District 5A:

  • Krista Knudsen — GOP
  • Brian Hobson — DFL

House District 5B:

  • Mike Wiener — GOP
  • Gregg Hendrickson — Independence-Alliance

Senate District 9:

  • Jordan Rasmusson — GOP
  • Cornel Walker — DFL

House District 9A:

  • Jeff Backer — GOP
  • Nancy Jost — DFL

House District 9B:

  • Tom Murphy — GOP
  • Jason Satter — DFL
Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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