Brainerd area voters, in a small and unscientific sampling taken last week, supported George W. Bush and Mark Dayton and issued stern warnings to any politicians who might limit their access to firearms.
Jim Torfin, district representative for Lutheran Brotherhood here, said, when he was interviewed at the Northwind Grille, that he'll vote for the Texas governor for president.
Dispatch again Election Central
The Brainerd Dispatch will once again serve as Election Central Tuesday for results compiled in Crow Wing County. The Dispatch doors open at 7:30 p.m., a half-hour before the polls close.
In most Crow Wing County polling precincts, ballots may be cast from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Results will be transmitted directly from the computer system used for tabulating votes at the Crow Wing County Courthouse via telephone to a computer terminal at The Dispatch.
No results are expected until about 9 p.m., said County Auditor Roy Luukkonen.
Election results may be obtained by calling The Dispatch Extra Access information service on election night. Throughout the night information will be updated. Extra phone lines have been installed to handle election calls.
Interested persons may call 829-2900 or 1-800-547-2909 for The Dispatch Extra Access service.
Results will be available from The Dispatch's Web site as well at www.brainerddispatch.com.
Results also may be found on Crow Wing County's Web site at www.co.crow-wing.mn.us. Cass County is also featuring election results on its Web site on election night.
"I trust him more," Torfin said. "He's more focused now on the issues."
Theyre talking about the older issues. They dont have enough issues Im interested in.
Although he described himself as a Republican, Torfin said he'd vote for Democrat Mark Dayton in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race and predicted the former state auditor would be elected to that post in this, his second try. Dayton, Torfin said, finally found the key to victory -- "a weak adversary."
The Brainerd man described the Senate race as "money against the status quo." He cited the television commercial with Sen. Rod Grams' mother as one of his least favorite, opining that a politician had to be pretty desperate to use his mother to get votes.
Torfin decried the negative tone of the presidential debate. Asked what he would like to see politicians do differently in a campaign, he quickly replied, "Tell the truth."
I trust him (Bush) more.Hes more focused now on the issues.
In county and city races, Torfin expects the status quo to prevail. Specifically, he said he saw Brainerd City Council candidate Bob Olson and Crow Wing County Board candidate Mary Koep as disruptive forces.
"I think the normal ones will win," Torfin said. "We've had troublemakers in the past. People don't want troublemakers like we've had."
The possibility of increased Brainerd-Baxter cooperation was one of the good developments Torfin predicted for the coming year.
Hed like to see the campaign shortened to four to six weeks.
"Many positive things are going on and we don't want to disrupt the growth with unnecessary squabbling," he said.
Chris Scearcy, 21, a Central Lakes College student from Brainerd, also plans to vote for Bush, primarily because of the Republican's gun control stance and laid-back style.
"I'm scared to death if (Vice President Al) Gore gets in office," Scearcy said. "Gun control is a real big issue."
Gores cocky and arrogant.
Ryan Flick, 19, of Nisswa, said he's not sure whether he'll vote or not. It depends on whether he hears something in the final few days that inspires him to go to the polls.
Tracy Bohall, 20, of Pequot Lakes, doesn't plan to vote, but she also noted how strongly Minnesotans feel about the guns they use for hunting or keep as family heirlooms.
Candidates are emphasizing issues that appeal to older citizens, she said, explaining why many young people don't vote.
"They're talking about the older issues," she said. "They don't have enough issues I'm interested in."
Joan Ace, a retired nurse who formerly worked at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center, is also in the Bush camp. The importance of morality, she said, was her main reason.
"I feel we need to get back to that," she said at the Brainerd Post Office Wednesday afternoon.
She plans to vote for Dayton for the Senate, citing what she called his integrity. Ace dislikes the negative campaigning and wishes candidates would stick to the issues.
Asked about Brainerd area races, she said she planned to support Rep. Kris Hasskamp, DFL-Crosby, in the state House District 12A race and Sen. Don Samuelson, DFL-Crosby, in the District 12 state Senate race.
"I'm interested in Samuelson because he's done a lot for the area," she said, citing improvements at Central Lakes College and the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center.
Marc Gabiger of southeast Brainerd said he'll vote for Bush on the basis of credibility issues and the Texan's stance on military issues. Gabiger is a Mille Lacs Indian Reservation police officer and a National Guard member.
He's leaning toward voting for Dayton, just because he likes the candidate overall.
Gabiger said he hasn't paid much attention to the local political races but was interested in Dale Walz's candidacy for the District 12A state House seat. He's met Walz and appreciated his law enforcement background.
Wayne Little of the Crosslake area said he's been following the campaign but didn't care to identify the candidates he'll support. Little would like to see the campaign shortened to four to six weeks.
"The media wouldn't like that because they wouldn't make enough money," Little said at the Northwind Grille.
Second-year Central Lakes College student Waylon Hennen, 20, will cast his first presidential vote for Bush. The Long Prairie student, a hunter, likes Bush's pledge to keep public lands open for hunting. He also anticipates three U.S. Supreme Court openings in the coming years and likes Bush's anti-abortion stance.
The CLC student favors Grams in the Senate race because he's an incumbent and because he's skeptical of Dayton's attacks on drug manufacturers while he owned drug stock.
He is not a fan of the vice president.
"Gore's cocky and arrogant," Hennen said.
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