MARSHALL - After uniting as cities and counties during the past few days, 2012 Minnesota Boys State participants began transitioning toward collaboration at the state level Wednesday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
With 381 attendees divided into two parties - the Federalists (red) and the Nationalists (blue) - Boys Staters had the responsibility of electing key officials.
On the Federalist side, Zac McFarland was elected governor after narrowly defeating Sylesh Volla. In the closest race of the day, Tracy Boys Stater Tommy Nelson and Marshall's Bo Erickson survived the six-person field to go head-to-head for the position of lieutenant governor.
"When I fell in volleyball, I bled red," Erickson said in his one-minute campaign speech. "I'm ready to fight for the Federalist party."
Erickson and Nelson both spoke about the necessity of being able to compromise.
"I'm not afraid to lead," Nelson said. "And, I believe a lieutenant governor is somebody who needs to listen and compromise."
At the end of the strategizing, it was Nelson who eventually squeezed out the two-vote victory.
Mason McCormick was elected the Federalist's attorney general, while Wesley Jaster was chosen as the secretary of state and Zach Paull as the chief justice. Tracy's C.J. Apperson gave it a good run, but was beat out by Johnny Sabel for state auditor.
Aaron Madson, a Dawson-Boyd High School senior-to-be, and Tracy's Mark DeSmith gave it their best shot in the 10-nominee field for the two associate justices positions.
"Obviously, I haven't served in this type of position before, but I feel that I have the right qualities for it," DeSmith said. "My parents have instilled strong values, integrity and a good work ethic in me."
Despite their stated principles, it was Hunter Lang and Isaac Kruse who were appointed.