With the end of the candidate filing period less than a week away, it appears voters will have a choice in almost all area legislative contests.
Democrats will still need to step forward to provide competition in the Senate district that includes most of rural Blue Earth County and in Waseca's House district.
State Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, filed Wednesday for a fifth term in the Senate in District 23, which includes all of Blue Earth County other than Mankato, Eagle Lake and nearby townships. No Democrat has signed up yet to take on Rosen, who won by 27 and 25 percentage points in 2012 and 2006, respectively, and was unopposed in 2010.
Rosen's only close election was a 47-44 percent victory in her first run in 2002. District 23 also includes southwestern Le Sueur County, western Waseca County, all of Faribault and Martin counties and part of Watonwan and Jackson counties.
A Democrat also will need to step forward before the filing period ends 5 p.m. Tuesday to create a race in House District 24A, which has been represented by Republican Rep. John Petersburg of Waseca since 2012. District 24A is dominated by the cities of Waseca and Owatonna.
But nine days into the two-week filing period, choices are now in place for voters in most legislative districts in the region.
Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, is being challenged by Democrat James Kanne of Franklin in District 16. The sprawling district includes Brown County but stretches along the south side of the Minnesota River to the South Dakota border.
In District 18, Sen. Scott Newman, a Hutchinson Republican first elected in 2010, has filed for re-election. Amy Wilde, DFL-Dassel, jumped into the race on the opening day of the filing period May 17. Wilde is a 14-year member of the Meeker County Board.
Sen. Kevin Dahle, DFL-Northfield has filed for re-election in District 20, which runs from Northfield to Belle Plaine and includes all but the southwestern tip of Le Sueur County. Rich Draheim — a real estate agent, longtime businessman and former owner of Westwood Marina on Lake Washington — has won the GOP endorsement for the District 20 Senate seat but hasn't yet filed his candidacy.
In House District 16B, Democrat Austin Grossenburg of New Ulm has filed against Republican Rep. Paul Torkelson of Lake Hanska. District 16B is made up of Brown County, most of Redwood County and a small piece of Renville County.
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, has filed for re-election in District 18B, which includes Sibley County and much of McLeod County. Former state Rep. Darrel Mosel, DFL-Gaylord, has received the Democratic endorsement in the race.
As previously reported, Democrat Nick Frentz and Republican Willa Dailey have filed in the District 19 race to replace retiring Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato; Republican North Mankato Councilman Kim Spears is challenging Rep. Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato; and Republican Adam Isakson of Mankato has filed for the seat held by Rep. Jack Considine, DFL-Mankato, who announced several months ago he is running for re-election.
In Senate District 24, Sen. Vicki Jenson, DFL-Owatonna, is being challenged by Republican John Jasinksi, mayor of Faribault and a real estate broker.
In House District 20A, Jim Connelly, DFL-Belle Plaine, is facing Rep. Bob Vogel, R-Elko New Market. The district also includes Le Sueur, Cleveland, Kasota and Le Center. In District 20B, which includes eastern Le Sueur County, Democratic Rep. David Bly has filed for re-election and is expected to be challenged by Aramis Wells, who has received the Republican endorsement but hasn't yet filed. Both Bly and Wells are from Northfield
Blue Earth Democrat Zack Huntley is taking on Fairmont Republican Rep. Bob Gunther, the longest-serving member of south-central Minnesota's legislative delegation, in District 23A. Gunther was first elected in 1995.
No candidates have filed against Republican Rep. Tony Cornish of Vernon Center in District 23B, which stretches from St. James to just west of Waseca and includes much of Blue Earth County. But Democrat Josh Hasemen, a member of the St. James City Council, has said he will challenge Cornish.