Voters in area counties to decide variety of offices

Several new county officers will be elected Tuesday across west central Minnesota, and there are contested races in a few districts for county boards of commissioners. In Swift County, voters will also decide whether or not to change to an appoin...

Several new county officers will be elected Tuesday across west central Minnesota, and there are contested races in a few districts for county boards of commissioners. In Swift County, voters will also decide whether or not to change to an appointment process for the treasurer position.
The following summaries outline the contested races in area counties other than Kandiyohi County. Profiles of the candidates for District 3 on the Kandiyohi County Board were published Oct. 24.

Chippewa County

Chippewa County voters will choose a new recorder, and District 5 voters will decide who represents them on the County Board between incumbent Commissioner David Lieser of Montevideo, a retired Montevideo Middle School instructor, and challenger Todd Hay of Montevideo, a civil engineer with Fagen Engineering.
District 5 is the southeastern part of the city of Montevideo.
Lori O’Connor, of Granite Falls, and Amy Rodeberg, of Montevideo, both employed as deputy recorders in the Recorder’s Office now, are vying for the top job. Diane Ketelsen did not seek re-election.

Meeker County

Meeker County voters have contested races to decide four county offices, and voters in two commissioner districts will decide their representative for the Meeker County Board.
District 1 incumbent Commissioner Beth Oberg, of Litchfield, is challenged by G. Michael Brooks, of Darwin, and District 5 incumbent Commissioner Michael L. Huberty, of Eden Valley, is challenged by Marlys Houk, of Paynesville.
District 1 is the city of Darwin and Darwin Township, and three of four wards in the city of Litchfield.
According to her campaign materials, Oberg has been general manager of the American Legion in Litchfield for more than 25 years.
Brooks worked in law enforcement for 26 years and retired to Minnesota, according to the Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch. He serves on the county’s Board of Adjustment.


District 5 is the cities of Grove City, Eden Valley and Watkins and the townships of Forest Prairie, Manannah, Swede Grove and Union Grove.
Huberty is a retired banker, according to KLFD Radio.
Houk farms with her family and is an administrative manager for an insurance company, according to her campaign materials.
The incumbent auditor faces a challenger, and voters will choose a new recorder, sheriff and attorney after each of those office holders decided not to seek re-election.
Auditor Barbara Loch, of Grove City, faces Wayne David Lopez, of Litchfield, According to the Litchfield Independent Review, Lopez works as a project manager and office manager at Elite Insulation Inc. in Litchfield, a company that specializes in commercial and industrial insulation.
Two current county employees are vying for recorder: Priscilla Mumford, of Litchfield, and Christine Paul, of Darwin. Mumford is a records clerk in the Recorder’s Office, and Paul is an account technician in the county Auditor’s Office, according to the Litchfield Independent Review.
Incumbent Recorder Elaine Lenhard is not running again.
After Sheriff Jeff Norlin decided not to run for re-election, several candidates filed for office before the August primary, and primary voters advanced Jon Thoma and Brian Cruze, both of Litchfield, to the November ballot. According to their campaign materials, both men are currently employed by the Sheriff’s Office, Thoma as a captain and Cruze as a narcotics investigator assigned to the regional CEE-VI Drug Task Force.
County Attorney Tony Spector, who was appointed to the position about two years ago, did not seek election to the post, and voters will decide between Chad Miller, of Dassel, and Brandi L. Schiefelbein, of Kingston Township. According to their campaign materials, Miller is a private practice lawyer and Schiefelbein is an assistant county attorney under Spector. Miller also owns a home-based technology business, according to the Independent Review.

Renville County

In Renville County, voters in District 4 will decide the commissioner race between incumbent John Stahl, of Olivia, a retired business owner, and Charles Ridler of Olivia, a management consultant.
District 4 includes the City of Danube, the City of Olivia and Troy Township.

Swift County

In Swift County, two sitting office holders are being challenged by deputies in their office. Incumbent Sheriff John Holtz is seeking re-election against Chris Joyce, a deputy sheriff in the office. Incumbent County Attorney Robin Finke is seeking re-election against Danielle Olson, an assistant county attorney in the office.
Voters in Swift County’s District 2 will choose a new commissioner. The seat represents the north half of the City of Benson and Benson Township.
Grant Herfindahl and Edward Pederson are on the Nov. 4 ballot after receiving the most votes in the primary in August. Incumbent Gary Klemm, of Benson, did not file for re-election. Pederson waged a write-in campaign for the seat in 2012 but lost to Klemm.
Pederson, of Benson, is employed by the Pope County Assessor’s Office. Herfindahl, of Benson Township, is executive director of the Farm Service Agency for Douglas and Pope counties.
Swift County voters also are being asked whether the office of county treasurer should be changed to an appointed position rather than elected. If the change to an appointed position is approved, the person elected on Tuesday would then be appointed to serve through the expiration of the new term ending on Jan. 1, 2019.
Current treasurer Ronald Vadnais, of Benson, has filed for re-election to his office and has no challengers.

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