Craig and Walz reelected

Lieske, Pursell win in state legislature

The 2022 Midterm elections were held on Nov. 8 with a large voter turnout on the St. Olaf campus. 

Nearly 90 percent of eligible St. Olaf students voted in the 2020 elections. As a result, St. Olaf won several awards from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

According to Civic Engagement Fellow India Bock ’23, St. Olaf students voted in high numbers in 2022 as well. “We had great student turnout this year — we had 991 people vote in the Pause, which is higher than both 2020 and 2018. Lots of students also voted absentee. We are really happy with this turnout,” Bock said.

To facilitate voting, the Lion’s Pause was used as a polling place, as has been the case in previous elections. Same-day voter registration was available with just a student I.D.

“We’re so lucky that we have a polling station on campus — that’s something that not a lot of college students have,” Bock said.

Prior to and during the elections, several student groups worked to get out the vote – St. Olaf Leftists (previously St. Olaf Democrats) participated in many efforts to encourage voting. They offered shuttles to the downtown polling place for early voting, tabled numerous times in Buntrock Commons, and covered campus sidewalks with voting-related chalk art the night before the election. The Students for Reproductive Rights (SRR) tabled and created hallway displays to inform students of candidates’ stances on abortion and encourage them to vote pro-choice. Student Election

Ambassadors provided nonpartisan voting encouragement, asking students to fill out a “Pledge to Vote.” 

Students’ efforts paid off. According to Bock, who organized the Election Ambassadors, “we had over 950 students pledge to vote this year.”

“Students’ voices really helped decide some critical races, and we’re really happy with the turnout this year,” Bock said.

This is the first Minnesota election following the voting district changes that resulted from the 2020 census. 

Minnesota U.S.  House District 2, which contains Northfield, is home to both left-leaning college towns and right-leaning rural agricultural areas, and it is the most highly contested district in the state. Polls predicted a toss-up in the House race between DFL incmbent Angie Craig and Republican Tyler Kistner. 

Another contested races was the gubernatorial race between DFL incumbents Tim Waltz and Peggy Flanagan, and Republicans Scott Jensen and Matt Birk. Walz and Flanagan were predicted to win by a moderate margin. 

As has been the case in previous years, the only major third-party presences were the Socialist Workers Party and the state’s two marijuana-legalization parties.

U.S. House 

Angie Craig (DFL)

DFL incumbent Angie Craig won  House District 2 with 51 percent of the vote, in the closest House race in the state. Craig beat Tyler Kistner, a Republican former marine who ran a “law and order” campaign. 


Walz/Flanagan (DFL)

DFL incumbent Tim Walz won with 52.3 percent of the vote. His first term was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the George Floyd  Uprising, and the Line 3 controversy. His campaign focused on healthcare and racial equity. 



Keith Ellison (DFL)

DFL incumbent Keith Ellison won another very close election, with 50.42 percent of the vote. Ellison’s opponent, Jim Schultz, had drawn controversy for his support of election denial theories.

Secretary of State

Steve Simon (DFL)

Incumbent Steve Simon (DFL) won his second term as Secretary of State, defeating challenger Kim Crockett (R) with 54 percent of the vote. Simon actually outperformed Walz — about 30,000 more people voted for Simon than voted for Walz in the governor’s race. Secretaries of state are responsible for, among other duties, overseeing elections, which are conducted on the state level.

State Senate

Bill Lieske (R)

In the Minnesota Senate District 58 race, Bill Lieske (R) defeated Clarice Grabau (DFL) with 53 percent of the vote. Kristi Pursell (DFL) defeated Gary Bruggenthies (R) with 54 percent of the vote in the Minnesota House District 58A race. 

State House 

Kristi Pursell (DFL)

Kristi Pursell (DFL) defeated Gary Bruggenthies (R) with 54 percent of the vote in the Minnesota House District 58A race. District 58A includes Northfield, Lonsdale, Minn., and the northern part of New Prague, Minn.

Rice County

Sheriff: Jesse


Attorney General: Brian Mortenson 

Incumbent Jesse J. Thomas defeated challenger Ross Spicer in the race for Rice County Sheriff — Thomas won 71 percent of the vote. The race for Rice County Attorney was much closer. In an upset, Brian Mortenson defeated incumbent John Fossum with 50.06 percent of the vote to Fossum’s 49.58 percent — a difference of 118 votes. Both elections are officially nonpartisan, but the St. Olaf College Leftists endorsed Thomas and Fossum. The St. Olaf College Republicans did not publically endorse any candidates.

In addition, Roger Bongers and Richard F. Peterson won their bids for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors for districts three and five respectively. Both ran unopposed.

Northfield City Council

St. Olaf students voted for council members in the at-large and Ward 4 elections. Davin Sokup defeated Thelma A. Estrada with 62 percent of the vote. In the Ward 4 election, Jessica Peterson White won reelection with 78 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Aaron Schindler. White received 1,410 votes and Schindler received 380. Ward 4 covers St. Olaf and downtown Northfield. A city councilor election also took place in Northfield’s Ward 1, which covers Carleton College and southeast Northfield. Kathleen Holmes won after running unopposed and received 2,085 votes.

Although city council elections are also officially nonpartisan, the St. Olaf College Leftists endorsed Sokup and White in the election. The St. Olaf College Republicans did not publicly endorse any candidates.

Northfield School Board

Jenny Nelson, Ben Miller, and Jeff Quinnell

Although the school board elections are nonpartisan, Nelson and Quinnell are perceived to be moderately conservative candidates, and Miller is more liberal. 

Northfield School Board Questions 1 & 2 


These proposed tax increases passed with 68.81 and 58.34 percent of the vote.

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