Primary Election narrows choices for county voters

Rhonda Silence

Nearly 50 election judges and six staffers from the Cook County Auditor’s Office diligently counted ballots late into the night on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 to determine which candidates on the primary ballot would advance to the General Election on November 4, 2014. The most closely watched races in Cook County were likely Cook County Commissioner District 1 and Commissioner District 5.

DeArruda Wharton and Moe on November ballot

The incumbent in District 1, Jan Hall announced on May 27, 2014 that she would not be running for re-election. That opened the door for other residents of Colvill, Hovland and Grand Portage and six people stepped up to take a run for office. Those candidates were John W. Bockovich, Steve Fleace, and Harry Drabik, all of Hovland and Kristin DeArruda Wharton, Frank Moe and Jerry Hiniker, all of Colvill.

When all the votes were counted on primary evening, DeArruda Wharton and Moe had emerged with the most votes and they will advance to the General Election.

The Cook County News-Herald reached Frank Moe by email the day after the election and asked if he had any comments on the primary results. Moe replied, “Thanks to Harry, Steve, John and Jerry for being willing to serve and put their names on the ballot. It’s a big risk to put yourself out there like that.”

Moe added, “And congratulations to Kristin. I definitely have my work cut out for me. A big thanks to all who supported me...or thought about it. I hope to earn more of your support in the coming weeks.”

Kristin DeArruda Wharton also responded to an emailed inquiry. She wrote, “I’m humbled and excited by the overwhelming support of the voters in the primary! I want to say thank you. To my family, the many people helping with my campaign, and to the other candidates who ran strong and brought important points of view. I didn’t get this far alone and I’ll continue to work together with all of the citizens in our district to chart a future that honors our history, our unique rural identity, and the hardworking people of District 1 and Grand Portage.

“I’m looking forward to addressing more of the issues that are impacting our community, like housing, how to keep our young people and families, protecting our rural land rights, responsible budget management, and being a strong voice for the east end and Grand Portage,” she said.

Martinson and Storlie advance to General Election

In the Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder area, four candidates vied for the seat currently held by incumbent Bruce Martinson of Schroeder. Martinson was the first citizen to file for the primary and for a time he was the only candidate. However, at the end of May, Tim Goettl and Ginny Storlie of Lutsen, both Lutsen township supervisors, and Stan Tull of Grand Marais entered the race.

The primary narrowed the race from four to two, with sitting Commissioner Martinson and Storlie advancing to the General Election.

Reached by email the evening after the election, Ginny Storlie wrote, “In District 5 we had a good run of candidates and the voters chose two. As one of the recipients of the vote I appreciate the support and will now work toward a win in November.

“It will be a busy time to meet more people, hear their concerns, and take time to really listen. Onward and forward,” Storlie said.

Bruce Martinson also replied to the News-Herald question. In a phone call he said, “I’d like to thank my constituents and those who voted for me and for their confidence and trust of my abilities.

“I’d like to thank Tim Goettl and Stan Tull for participating in the political process. I’m looking forward to participating in future forums with Ginny,” said Martinson.

School District 166 needs write-in candidate

When the election filing period for the City of Grand Marais, School District 166 and North Shore Hospital closed on August 12, there was still a vacancy in the race for ISD 166 School Board District 3.

The District 3 board position is currently held by Leslie Ann Sullivan. She was appointed to fulfill the term when Mary Sanders retired from the board in December 2013. Unfortunately, Sullivan told the News- Herald on July 30 that she cannot run. She has moved out of the district. The School District 3 board member represents West Grand Marais and Cascade.

The day of the primary, ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz said if no one files, the school board hopes that there will be a write-in candidate. Schwarz said the Minnesota School Board Association said that could be a method to fill the vacancy. However, if there is no write-in winner, or if the individual voted in as write-in declines to serve, the school board would have to function as a four-member board until it could appoint someone.

Schwarz said she was researching whether the District 3 seat could be an “at-large” position, so it could be filled by anyone in the county. However, she said that is not ideal, as the school district wants equal representation from each district.

Schwarz said she really hopes someone comes forward to serve. “This is a really important position and time for our community. We’ll be going out for an operational levy next fall. We need a full board to determine our priorities and how much we will need,” Schwarz said.

The other two school board seats have candidates. Incumbents Deb White in District 1 and Jeanne Anderson in District 5 both have filed for re-election. They are unopposed.

Grand Marais voters have choices

The three incumbents on the Grand Marais City Council eligible for re-election—Mayor Larry “Bear” Carlson and Councilors Bob Spry and Bill Lenz—did not file to run for office again. A number of Grand Marais citizens have filed however.

Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux filed for mayor a few days after the filing period began. This week Lawrence Scully also filed in the race for the mayor’s position.

Several citizens have filed to run for city council seats—Vance Benedix, Reid Dusheck, David Mills and Anton Moody are all in the running. For the council seats, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will be elected.

Status quo for North Shore Hospital

The three incumbent board members on the Cook County North Shore Hospital Board—Sharon Bloomquist in District 1; Howard Abrahamson in District 3; and Thomas Spence Sr. in District 5—have all filed for re-election. They are all running unopposed.

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