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Wendy Reuer, Published August 14 2012

Lien, Reimche to face off for Lanning’s old House seat

MOORHEAD – Voters on Tuesday choose the Democratic Farmer Labor and Republican candidates for the District 4A House race here, setting up the general election matchup for a state legislative seat that represents Moorhead.

DFLers chose Ben Lien to represent the party in the Nov. 6 general election with 74 percent of the vote over Sue Wiger with 26 percent.

Travis Reimche won the Republican nomination with 69 percent of the votes over Ken Lucier’s 24 percent and Benjamin Larson, who had 7 percent.

Results are complete but unofficial.

The candidates are seeking to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead. Lanning, who had served in the Legislature for 10 years after a long stint as Moorhead’s mayor, announced this spring he was not seeking re-election.

Reimche, 40, a patient accounts manager at Sanford, was endorsed by Lanning last week. Reimche said Lanning encouraged him to run.

Reimche received 768 votes while Lucier garnered 262 and Larson had 76.

Reimche touted his business experience as a beneficial quality he will need in St. Paul. He said his experience and the many volunteers who contributed to his campaign were factors in Tuesday’s win.

“It’s just a positive message that we had of my business background and, truly, we need to look at jobs and development,” Reimche said.

Lucier, 64, is a retired postal carrier and a longtime conservative political activist. Larson, 38, is a warehouse manager at Family Life Thrift Store.

On the DFL side, Lien won the primary election with 853 votes over the 295 for Wiger.

Lien, 29, is employed by The Village Family Service Center. During his campaign, Lien stressed his ability and willingness to work across party lines to find solutions to budgetary problems at the capitol.

Lien couldn’t be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Wiger, 56, is the former executive director of the Bluestem Center for the Arts. The longtime Moorhead resident said she would introduce property tax incentives and tip credits as ways to encourage new business.

At the Hjemkomst Center – a newly appointed Moorhead polling location after redistricting this year that changed the House district that represents Moorhead from District 9A to District 4A – Head Election Judge Paul Beltz said they expected to see about 10 percent, or 200 voters.

House members serve two-year terms and receive a salary of $31,140 per year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530