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Spots still open for election

By Kevin O’Brien

Local voters will see some blank spots — along a couple new names — on their April 7 ballots this spring.

No one stepped forward by Tuesday’s nomination deadline to replace Diane Feiten of Colby as the District 9 representative on the Clark County Board of Supervisors, so that seat will not feature any registered candidates.

A write-in candidate could still win a two-year term representing District 9, which includes Wards 3 and 4 in Colby, Ward 5 in Abbotsford, and Ward 1 in the town of Colby. If not, the board will have to appoint someone to that seat.

All other local representatives on the Clark and Marathon county boards will be running unopposed for new terms.

Voters in the Abbotsford School District will have at least one option to vote for when replacing longtime school board president Don Medenwaldt. Jim Hirsch turned in nomination papers, and so did incumbent Eric Brodhagen, so there will be one registered candidate for each seat on the board.

Meanwhile, three candidates have emerged for the two available spots on the Colby School Board. The incumbents are Cheryl Ploeckelman and Jean Schmidt, whose three-year terms both expire in 2020. Challenging them will be newcomer Craig Oehmichen, who also turned in enough signatures to get on the ballot. The two candidates with the most votes will be elected to terms that end in 2023.

In the city of Abbotsford, municipal court judge Judy Kalepp and Alds. Lori Huther (Ward 1), Roger Weideman (Ward 3) and Dennis Kramer (Ward 4) all turned in papers to be on the ballot. Barring any write-in campaigns, they will all be running unopposed on April 7.

Ward 2 Ald. Brent Faber, however, did not turn in nomination papers by Tuesday’s deadline and nor did he declare his non-candidacy last month. As a result, under Wisconsin’s election law, anyone else in Ward 2 has until Friday at 5 p.m. to collect 20 signatures and submit nomination papers to get on the April 7 ballot.

Ward 2 will also have a blank spot on the ballot after the resignation of Ald. Jeremy Totzke last year. Anyone who was interested in running for the remainder of his turn was free to turn in nomination papers by Tuesday’s deadline, but since no one did, the race is open to any qualified write-in candidates.

( Editor’s note: The term “Ward 2” is used for the sake of simplicity when referring to Abbotsford’s city council, but it is technically “aldermanic district 2,” which includes Wards 2 and 5. Ward 5 was created after the 2010 redistricting, but residents in both wards are still represented by the same two members of the council).

In the city of Colby, Mayor Jim Schmidt, Ward 2 Ald. Todd Schmidt and Ward 4 Ald. Tammy Solberg all submitted their nomination papers on time, so they will be running unopposed in April. Ward 1 Ald. Steve Kolden and Ward 3 Ald. Nancy O’Brien, on the other hand, did not turn in nomination papers, nor did they declare non-candidacy, so the deadline for getting on the ballot has been extended until Friday at 5 p.m. Anyone in those two wards who submits a minimum of 20 nomination signatures and other registration paperwork will be an official candidate on April 7.

City clerk Connie Gurtner said Tuesday that both Kolden and O’Brien plan on running write-in campaigns to keep their seats on the council.

City of Colby voters will also be asked to vote on a referendum question about whether or not the city should raise the limit of dogs per household from two to three without needing a kennel license.

Local villages nominate candidates through in-person caucuses, which are taking place over the couple weeks.

Curtiss held its caucus before Tuesday’s night monthly board meeting, and incumbent John Unruh was the only one to be nominated. His name will be the only one on the ballot April 7.

The village of Dorchester will hold its caucus before the village board’s monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Dorchester voters will have four seats to fill, including one recently vacated by trustee Lynsie Hardrath after she moved out of the village. The incumbents whose two-year terms are expiring include Daniella Schauer, Justin Duranceau and Matt Derrico.

The village of Unity will hold a caucus on Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., with trustees Ryan Maldonis, Brian Michlig and Josh Bauer up for re-election.