Primary Election: Houge, Starry to vie for District 5 commissioner seat

Nixon plans write-in campaign; incumbent Republican senators win handily

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Incumbent Doug Houge and challenger Michael Starry will face off in the Nov. 3 general election for the District 5 Crow Wing County commissioner seat.

District 5 includes the northeastern portion of the county, including the cities of Fifty Lakes, Manhattan Beach, Emily, Crosby, Cuyuna, Deerwood, Ironton, Riverton and Trommald, as well as Little Pine, Fairfield, Ross Lake, Perry Lake and Wolford townships, along with townships farther south.

Primary election vote totals Aug. 11 were: Houge, of Crosby, 1,154 votes (46.68%); Starry, of Ironton, 780 votes (31.55%); and Tom Nixon, of Deerwood, 538 votes (21.76%).

Nixon told the Brainerd Dispatch he planned to undertake a write-in campaign for the general election.

Following is a breakdown by precinct in the northern part of District 5:


  • Fifty Lakes: Starry, 32 votes; Houge, 22; Nixon, 9.

  • Manhattan Beach: Starry, 4 votes; Hogue, 9; Nixon, 0.

  • Emily: Starry, 73 votes; Houge, 30; Nixon, 17.

  • Little Pine Township: Starry, 18 votes; Houge, 9; Nixon, 0.

  • Fairfield Township: Starry, 46 votes; Houge, 28; Nixon, 14.

  • Ross Lake Township: Starry, 25 votes; Hogue, 34; Nixon, 7.

  • Perry Lake Township: Starry, 37 votes; Houge, 25; Nixon, 11.

  • Wolford Township: Starry, 41 votes; Hogue, 63; Nixon, 20.

Two area state senators handily won their primary races.

  • District 9: Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, garnered 5,822 votes (83.49%) to Republican challenger Richard Dahl’s 1,151 votes (16.51%). Gazelka will face DFL challenger A. John Peters, Browerville, in the general election.

State Senate District 9 includes parts of Cass, Wadena, Todd and Morrison counties.

  • District 10: State Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, earned 5,558 votes (82.50%) to Republican challenger Shaun Christian Hansen’s 1,179 votes (17.50%). Ruud will face DFL challenger Steve Samuelson, Brainerd, Nov. 3.

State Senate District 10 includes Crow Wing and Aitkin counties.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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