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Rukavina, Hujanen advance to November county board election

Former state legislator Tom Rukavina easily advanced from Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary for the 4th District St. Louis County commissioner seat.

It was a much closer race for the second spot in the Nov. 4 general election, with Tower's Christina Hujanen edging-out Kirsten Reichel of Greenwood Township by just 110 votes.

 With all precincts reporting early today, Rukavina, of Pike Township, garnered 52.91 percent of the votes; Hujanen 24.57 percent; and Reichel 22.51 percent. The winner in November will replace longtime commissoner Mike Formsan of Ely who decided not to seek another term.

 The 4th District covers a large part of the county — larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined — stretching from the Canadian border to the Iron Range, and then extending south and east to Normanna Township near Duluth.

In other local and county races around the Northland:

  • In Barnum, a $17 million school facilities bond ballot question was voted down by a wide margin. With all precincts reporting late Tuesday, more than 67 percent of voters had voted against the bond issue.
  • In Cook County, Kristin DeArruda Wharton and Frank Moe advanced to the general election for the 1st District county commissioner’s seat. In District 5, Bruce Martinson and Ginny Storlie will face off in November.
  • In Itasca County, incumbent county attorney John Muhar led the primary vote totals and will face John Dimich in November.
  • In the Cloquet mayoral race, incumbent Bruce Ahlgren and challenger Dave Hallback advanced to the general election.
  • In the Ely mayoral race, Chuck Novak and Paul Kess advanced to the general election.