Ostrander, Gearhart win primaries

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Brent Ostrander

Jason Gearhart

By Audrey Posten


Clayton County Sheriff candidate Brent Ostrander and State House District 64 candidate Jason Gearhart came out on top in the most contested local races on the June 4 primary election ballot. The two, both Republicans, will now represent their party on the general election ballot this November.


According to unofficial results, Ostrander, an investigator with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, received 1,193 votes to the 746 for sheriff’s deputy Brandon Taylor. Both were running to replace current Clayton County Sheriff Mike Tschirgi, who will retire when his four-year term concludes at the end of this year.


Gearhart garnered 1,904 votes to defeat fellow Republican Douglas Wolfe, who received 1,551. State House District 64 includes all of Allamakee and Clayton counties and part of Dubuque County. Of Gearhart’s votes, 1,033 came from Clayton County. Wolfe had 790.


Current State House District 64 Rep. Anne Osmundson, also a Republican, did not seek re-election. Gearhart, of Strawberry Point, will be on the general election ballot with no Democratic or Libertarian challengers. Ian Zahren of Lansing is running as an independent candidate, however.


Other races on both the Republican and Democratic ballots had candidates running unopposed. 


Incumbent Clayton County Supervisor Ray A. Peterson received 1,596 votes from Republicans, and there were 40 write-in votes cast. No Democrats filed to fill the one four-year seat up for election this year, but six write-in votes were cast.


Incumbent Clayton County Auditor Jennifer Garms, a Democrat, earned 107 votes. Seventy-seven write-in votes were submitted by Republicans, who had no candidate on the primary ballot.


Republican Mike Klimesh is running for another term as state senator of District 32. He received 3,663 votes total, including 1,573 in Clayton County. No Democrats are running for the position.


Republicans also supported incumbent U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson. She tallied 22,622 votes across District 2, with 1,658 coming from Clayton County voters.


Democrat Sarah Corkery ran unopposed as well, receiving 10,474 votes in District 2. Clayton County Democrats supplied 106 of those.


According to the unofficial results from the Clayton County Auditor’s Office, 2,054 ballots were cast in Clayton County for the primary election— 1,942 by registered Republicans, 109 by Democrats and three by Libertarians. The total is similar to the 2022 primary election, when 2,023 ballots were cast. That election included more contested races at the state and federal levels, as well Clayton County Board of Supervisors.


The Clayton County elections website lists 12,252 registered voters in the county, 4,842 of whom identify as Republicans and 4,383 with no party affiliation. There are 2,936 registered Democrats, 71 Libertarians and 20 listed as “other.”

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