Few file for local spring races

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

The 2016 election season has already gotten off to a raucous start on the national and state level.

Locally, however, it appears to be a different story.

Voters will have little – and in a few cases, no – choice for local boards and councils in the April 5 general election.

Tuesday was the last day for candidates to file nomination papers for the County Board, city councils, village boards and school boards.

Very few local positions will be contested in April and, in the case of one County Board seat, no candidates filed to run at all.

There will still be a primary election Feb. 16, however, statewide for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Four candidates – incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley, Claude Covelli, Joe Donald and Joanne Kloppenburg – filed to run for that seat, necessitating a primary to reduce the field to two candidates in April.

A primary will not be required, however, for any County Board seat or positions in Plymouth, Elkhart Lake or Howards Grove.

Incumbents are running unopposed for 24 of 25 County Board seats, including Fran Damp and Thomas Wegner in the city of Plymouth (District 16 and 17), Thomas Epping in the town of Plymouth (District 15), Keith Abler (District 14) and George Marthenze (District 13).

In District 21, which includes wards 1 and 2 in the town of Wilson and the village of Oostburg, incumbent Brian Hilbelink (appointed to replace Devin LeMahieu in 2015) did not file to run and no other candidate filed nomination papers.

In the city of Plymouth, all incumbents – Mayor Donald Pohlman and council members Greg Hildebrand (District 1), Jim Sedlacek (District 2), James Faller (District 3) and Shawn Marcom (District 4) – will be running unopposed in April.

Incumbent Trustee Pam Garton is not seeking re-election to the Elkhart Lake Village Board, but incumbents Steve Kapellen and Lynn Shovan are running again. John Schott was the only other candidate to file papers for the three vacant Village Board seats.

Three incumbents – James Bilgo, Lee Kunze and Henry Verfuerth – are the only candidates for three positions on the Howards Grove Village Board.

Three current Plymouth School Board members are the only candidates for three seats on the board. They are Tony Backhaus in area A (city of Plymouth), Bob Travis in area B (outside the city of Plymouth) and Tim St. Clair in area C (all areas of the district).

While candidates for each seat must be residents of the specified area, voters in the entire district can vote for all three seats.

Incumbent Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School Board member Matthew Waage is not running for re-election to one of two seats to be filled, but the other incumbent up for re-election, Keith Ruh, will be on the ballot, along with newcomer Andrew Martin.

One incumbent, Richard Hemb, is not running for re-election to the Howards Grove School Board, which has two open seats, but the other incumbent, Kimberly Plass, is. Kari Bramstedt filed papers to run for the board.

Elsewhere in the county, there will be at least one primary contest.

Five candidates are running for two open seats on the Holland Town Board, which means a primary will be required to reduce the field to four candidates for the April election.

At the other end of the spectrum, only one candidate filed papers for three open seats on the Random Lake Village Board.

Deadlines for filing nomination papers for the Random Lake Village Board and School Board have both been extended to Friday, Jan. 8, at 5 p.m. since one of the incumbents on each board failed to file non-candidacy papers by the Jan. deadline.


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