Dornink wins GOP race to challenge Sparks in District 27

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016



A Hayfield man won by a large margin Tuesday in the state Senate District 27 Republican primary election.

Gene Dornink, a carpenter, received 948 votes, or 69.2 percent of the vote.

Cynthia Gail, of Albert Lea, received 423 votes, or 30.9 percent of the vote.

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Dornink will face incumbent Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, who ran unopposed in the primary and received 1,379 votes.

First elected in 2002, Sparks has been re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2012.

Dornink stressed that he was “humbled, honored and privileged” to be able to run for the seat, and thanked Gail for running in the primary.

He said he was excited to meet with Sparks and discuss issues, such as health care, education and the state’s business climate.

Dornink has said his goals if elected to the Minnesota Senate include accountability, getting back to the basics and respecting the Constitution.

“We are getting taxed enough,” Dornink said, noting his belief that the state needs to spend the money it has wisely.

Gail, an art teacher at United South Central, said she was asked not to campaign because she was not endorsed by the GOP, and said it was a good experience to learn about the voters in the area.

She said she wants to see transparency in the endorsement and funding of government officials and candidates.

Sparks was unable to be reached as of press time.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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