Able to run on his own record, incumbent Crow Wing County Commissioner Doug Houge had a substantial lead Tuesday night.
The race for the Crow Wing County District 5 seat pitted incumbent Houge against challenger Daniel Hamm of Ironton. About midnight, with 10 of 14 precincts reporting, Houge had a lead of 2,589 votes to Hamm's 944.
Houge waited for results with friends at the Ironton Legion. He said he didn't want to celebrate until the election was official. Houge, Ironton, works in industrial sales for Weyerhaeuser Co. In June 2007, Houge was elected to serve the remainder of the late Commissioner John "Jinx" Ferrari's seat, who died in April 2007. Ferrari served District 5 for 26 years.
This election, Houge was able to run on his own record, saying he believed the vote was based on some of the work he's done in the last 15 months to 16 months.
"I feel pretty comfortable in what we accomplished," Houge said. "Granted we have a lot more work to do."
In a list of priorities for the future, Houge said one of the challenges for the board will be controlling spending and preparing for tough times ahead.
"The biggest thing I want to see happen is better service," Houge said. "I think we've fallen behind a bit."
A new face for the Crow Wing County District 1 seat was assured in this election. Incumbent Dewey Tautges, Fort Ripley, did not seek re-election. At midnight, the outcome remained close between the two Fort Ripley men vying for Tautges' seat with nine of 19 precincts reporting. At that time, Phil "P.J." Trusty had 2,095 votes to Frank Ball's 2,058 votes.
Trusty is a state employee, a range mechanic at Camp Ripley. Ball is human resources director for Barrett Ag Service and is a former Crow Wing County sheriff and former Brainerd police chief.
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