A lengthy ballot awaits Anoka County voters when they go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6 for the 2012 general election.
At the top of the election ballot will be the race for U.S. president in which Democrat President Barack Obama is seeking a second term with Republican Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts his opponent.
But Anoka County voters will also be voting in U.S. Senate and U.S. House races Nov. 6.
Incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar is seeking a second, six-year term in the U.S. Senate with opposition from Republican Kurt Bills and Independence Party candidate Stephen Williams.
Geographically, Anoka County falls within three U.S. House districts.
Most of the county lies within the Sixth Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann is challenged by DFLer Jim Graves.
All of Coon Rapids is located in the Third Congressional District, which also includes much of suburban Hennepin County.
Republican incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen is opposed by Democrat Brian Barnes in the Third District race.
The southern part of the county – Columbia Heights, Fridley, Hilltop and Spring Lake Park – is in the Fifth Congressional District, which also covers the city of Minneapolis.
Incumbent Democrat Keith Ellison faces a challenge from Republican Joe Fields in that district.
There are also Minnesota Supreme Court, Minnesota Courts of Appeals and 10th Judicial District (Anoka County is in that district) judge contests on the ballot as well as two constitutional amendments on the marriage and voter ID issues.
This Voter’s Guide focuses on Anoka County Board, Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House races in the ABC Newspapers coverage area.
Redistricting that took place earlier this year following the 2010 U.S. Census made some significant changes to state legislative districts in the county – not the least of which are new numbers for both Senate and House districts.
The redistricting has also created three open seats, one in the Senate and two in the House, where there are no incumbents.
The Anoka County Board, too, was impacted by redistricting and population shifts over the past decade.
Indeed, six of the seven county board seats are on the ballot this year; only District 4 (Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley and part of Spring Lake Park) does not have a 2012 election.
Election contests covered in this Voter’s Guide, for which questions were posed by the ABC Newspapers, are:
Anoka County Board
• District 1: Incumbent Matt Look, Ramsey, faces Allison Lister, Oak Grove, former Anoka County veterans service officer. The district includes all of Ramsey, Oak Grove, St. Francis, Nowthen and part of Anoka.
• District 2: Incumbent Andy Westerberg, Blaine, is challenged by Julie Braastad, Ham Lake City Council member. The district includes all of Ham Lake, East Bethel and Bethel as well as parts of Andover and Blaine.
• District 3: Incumbent Robyn West, Blaine, has opposition from Dan Sanders, Blaine, in a district that includes most of Blaine and part of Spring Lake Park.
• District 5: Incumbent Carol LeDoux, Coon Rapids, has been challenged by Scott Bromley, Coon Rapids, who serves on the Coon Creek Watershed District. The district encompasses southern Andover, the part of Coon Rapids east of Hanson Boulevard and one precinct in northern Fridley.
• District 6: Incumbent Rhonda Sivarajah, Lino Lakes, is opposed by Kevin Ryan, Linwood Township, in a rematch from four years ago. No response to the questionnaire was provided by Ryan, who could not be contacted by mail or phone. The district includes Centerville, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes, Lexington, Columbus and Linwood and the eastern part of Blaine.
• District 7: Incumbent Dan Erhart, Coon Rapids, has opposition from Scott Schulte, a Coon Rapids City Council member. The district covers Coon Rapids generally west of Hanson Boulevard, as well as parts of Anoka and Andover.
• Senate District 31: Incumbent Michelle Benson (GOP), Ham Lake, is challenged by Mike Starr, (DFL), Oak Grove. In Anoka County, the district includes East Bethel, Bethel, Ham Lake, Oak Grove, St. Francis, Nowthen, Columbus, Linwood and parts of Andover.
• Senate District 35: An open seat created by redistricting in which Rep. Branden Petersen (GOP), Andover, takes on DFLer Peter Perovich, Ramsey. The district covers Anoka and Ramsey and parts of Andover and Coon Rapids.
• Senate District 36: Incumbent Republican Benjamin Kruse, Brooklyn Park, is opposed by DFLer John Hoffman, Champlin, an Anoka-Hennepin District 11 School Board member. Kruse did not respond to the questionnaire. The district includes part of Coon Rapids, as well as Brooklyn Park, Champlin and Dayton in Hennepin County.
• Senate District 37: Pam Wolf, Spring Lake Park, the Republican incumbent, has been challenged by DFLer Alice Johnson, Spring Lake Park, a former state representative. Wolf did not respond to the questionnaire. The district encompasses parts of Blaine, Coon Rapids and Spring Lake Park.
• Senate District 38: Incumbent Republican Roger Chamberlain, Lino Lakes, is opposed by Timothy Henderson, Lino Lakes. Chamberlain did not respond to the questionnaire. The district in Anoka County includes part of Blaine as well as Centerville, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes and Lexington.
• House District 31A: Republican incumbent Kurt Daudt, Zimmerman, is challenged by DFLer Ryan Fiereck, Bethel. In Anoka County, the district covers Nowthen, St. Francis, Bethel and part of Oak Grove.
• House District 31B: Tom Hackbarth, Cedar, the incumbent Republican, has opposition from Louise Woodberry (DFL), Oak Grove. The district encompasses East Bethel, Ham Lake, Linwood, Columbus and parts of Oak Grove and Andover.
• House District 35A: Republican incumbent Jim Abeler, Anoka, is opposed by two candidates – Andy Hillebregt (DFL), Ramsey, and Justin Boals (Independence Party), Anoka. The district includes Anoka and Ramsey.
• House District 35B: Pam Scott, the incumbent Republican from Andover, will face DFLer Sam Scott, Andover. Sam Scott did not respond to the questionnaire. The district covers parts of Andover and Coon Rapids.
• House District 36A: With DFL Rep. Denise Dittrich retiring, this is an open seat that has Champlin Mayor Mark Uglem (GOP) on the ballot with DFLer Grace Baltich. Part of Coon Rapids represents Anoka County in the district, which also includes the Hennepin County communities of Champlin and Dayton.
• House District 36B: There are three candidates on the ballot – DFL incumbent Melissa Hortman, Brooklyn Park; Andrew Kratoska, Independence Party from Brooklyn Park; and Andrew Reinhardt, Republican from Brooklyn Park, who ran against Hortman two years ago. Kratoska did not return the questionnaire. Part of Coon Rapids is in this district along with Brooklyn Park.
• House District 37A: A new House district with no incumbent created by redistricting has Republican Mandy Benz, Coon Rapids, running against Jerry Newton, a former state representative from Coon Rapids. The district encompasses parts of Blaine, Coon Rapids and Spring Lake Park.
• House District 37B: Incumbent Republican Tim Sanders, Blaine, faces a challenge from DFLer On Chlebeck, Blaine. Chlebeck did not respond to the questionnaire. The district includes most of Blaine.
• House District 38A: Linda Runbeck, the Republican incumbent from Circle Pines, is opposed by Patrick Davern, Lino Lakes. The district includes part of Blaine plus Centerville, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes and Lexington.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at precincts Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]