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Lake County voters go to the polls

Silver Bay went for Tarryl Clark, and the Fall Lake area threw its support to Jeff Anderson, a native of nearby Ely. But the rest of Lake County's cities and towns mirrored the 8th Congressional District as a whole in choosing Rick Nolan as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate to take on Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in the November general election.

Nolan, of Crosby in north-central Minnesota, got nearly 40 percent of the Lake County primary vote on Tuesday to beat competitors Anderson (30.33 percent) and Clark (29.92) for the right to run against Cravaack, who upset longtime Rep. James Oberstar in a nationwide Republican sweep of House races in 2010. Nolan's Lake County support was two points better than his result in the district as a whole, in which he got 38.34 percent to Clark's 32.27 and Anderson's 29.39.

If successful, Nolan would return to Congress, where he served three terms in the 1970s -- two of those concurrent with Oberstar -- representing northern Minnesota in the then-6th Congressional District.

"There's no doubt about it that Jeff and Tarryl waged a vigorous campaign, but there's no rancor on my part," Nolan told reporters Tuesday night, noting that he and his two former opponents were scheduled to hold a party unity rally in Duluth the next day.

"I think the fact that we're all willing to meet and come together is an indication that the party is uniting to go forward and beat Chip Cravaack."

For his part, Cravaack welcomed the challenge.

"I spoke with Congressman Nolan earlier this evening to congratulate him on his primary win," Cravaack, of North Branch, said in a statement late Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to discussing our different visions for the future of our country and the 8th District during the next 83 days. I look forward to a healthy debate on the issues important to Minnesota and the country."

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar will face Republican Kurt Bills after each warded off opponents. Klobuchar got more than 93 percent of the Lake County vote -- 2 points better than she fared statewide -- to handily fend off three challengers. On the GOP side, Bills won comfortably statewide with 51 percent of the vote, though he faced a tighter race in Lake County, earning nearly 48 percent to David Carlson's 42. Bob Carney, Jr. trailed for third

Independence Party Senate candidates Stephen Williams, who won statewide, and Glen R. Anderson Menze tallied only single digits in the county vote.

Voter turnout was low statewide and in Lake County. By 7 a.m. on primary election day, 7,325 people were registered to vote in Lake County. The number estimated to have turned out, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State office, was 1,876.