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New faces in city, county incumbents fall

By Staff | Jun 13, 2014

Ashley Burkhartsmeier/PCT Mike Swanson, of Rugby, fills out a ballot during the Tuesday primary election at the Armory.


Berg new faces on council

The Rugby City Council will have a different look as two newcomers won over voters in Tuesday’s election.

Joel Berg upset Ward 3 incumbent Arden Warner, and Craig Zachmeier beat two opponents for a vacant seat in Ward 4. That seat belonged to Arland Geiszler, who ran unopposed and will be Rugby’s next mayor.

Berg won the Ward 3 race with 56.04 percent compared to 43.96 percent for Warner. Berg had 102 votes and Warner had 80.

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the election and learned a great deal about how the city government works,” Berg said. “I hope that more people attend city council meetings. I also hope to find a way to televise the meetings or put them on the internet for those who are unable to attend.”

Said Warner: “I really enjoyed my time on the council and I wish Joel the best of luck for his term.”

Zachmeier won the only city race with three candidates. Zachmeier won comfortably with 50.96 percent of the vote. Doug Hauck grabbed 26.82 percent and Chuck Longie received 22.22 percent. Zachmeier had 133 votes, Hauck 70 and Longie 58.

“I’m excited to learn about the city government, excited to serve the people and excited to implement some changes that will be better for the community and better for all of us,” Zachmeier said.

He was pleased to see another new candidate for the council win.

“I like the idea that we have the next generation coming in there to stand up, so our kids don’t get stuck with the tax burden from any changes we make or mistakes that have been made,” Zachmeier said. “We need to look to the future and make sure our kids don’t pay for the mistakes we make as councilmen.”

Longie was disappointed in the outcome, but offered support for the winner.

“Obviously, I would like to see change,” Longie said. “I want to see maintenance done in the city the way it should be done, as far as public works. I definitely support Craig and I think he’s going to be a very good person for the job.”

Geiszler voted Rugby’s mayor

Geiszler won unopposed with 97.4 percent of the vote, or 673 out of 691 votes (including write-ins). He served on the council for the last four years, and also served during the mid 1980s.

Geiszler hopes to continue the projects started by Mayor Dave Cichos, including building the new fire hall, the Chalmer’s Addition housing project, updates to the water plant and increased cooperation with the law enforcement center and the county.

“I’m looking forward to working with the new council and feel that everyone elected is very capable of their positions,” Geiszler said. “I want recognize the outgoing mayor for his sound leadership for the city.”

Bednarz retains seat in Ward 2

Incumbent Dave Bednarz will continue serving Ward 2 following a successful write-in campaign over write-in challenger Sara Radomski. A filing error prevented Bednarz from being on the ballot.

Bednarz received 65.89 percent of the vote to Radomski’s 34.11 percent. Bednarz received 85 votes to Radomski’s 44.

“I look forward to another four years,” Bednarz said.

Bednarz hopes to clean up the city of Rugby, have ordinances enforced better and see the completion of the new fire hall. Bednarz would also like to see a sidewalk replacement program put in place, one in which the city and homeowners will split costs 50/50.

Radomski said she hopes the incumbent and new members on the city council will make choices that are in the “best interest of the community.”

“There’s some younger blood on the council, and I hope they’ll steer it in the right direction for future leaders as well,” Radomski said.


Harmel win unopposed bids

Neil Lodvedt ran unopposed to retain his seat out of Ward 1, receiving 92.5 percent of the votes (111 out of 120). This will be his second term on the council. He is looking forward to the new fire hall being built and seeing the Chalmer’s Addition completed.

“I appreciate everyone’s vote for me this term,” Lotvedt said.

Sharon Harmel retained her office of municipal judge with 81 votes as a write-in candidate because of a filing mistake. Voters wrote in 20 other candidates, with none receiving more than four votes.

“I am pleased with the result,” Harmel said. “It’s been a pleasure over the past few years to serve the City of Rugby and I’m glad I can continue to do that.”

Sheriff’s race down to two

The race for Pierce County Sheriff is down to two candidates following Tuesday’s primary vote. Challenger Josh Siegler and incumbent Matt Lunde finished in the top two – in that order – eliminating challenger Luis Coca. Voters will decide between Sielger and Lunde in November’s general election.

Siegler, a deputy in Ward County, won 52.52 percent of the votes. Lunde won 31.92 percent and Coca rounded out the votes with 16.19 percent. Siegler had 584 votes, Lunde had 348 and Coca had 180.

“I’m very happy, very pleased,” Siegler said. “I appreciate all the support. I’m overwhelmed, to be honest, but I’m very happy. I know there’s still a lot of work to do, a lot of people to talk to and I’m thinking about the changes I want to implement for this county.”

Lunde, who also expressed gratitude to his voters, said he expects a greater turnout in November and is confident he can retain his office.

“Right now, I’m feeling strong,” Lunde said. “I’ve got a lot more supporters out there. I need to get out there and do the work and I have a lot of people to visit with. I’m excited for the fall.”

Coca, a former Rugby Police chief, said he was “very disappointed”, and offered his support to Siegler.

“I think that Josh with a little time in the office there, he would do a really good job,” Coca said. “If I had to support one of the two, it’d be Josh. I would like to see more professionalism and more contact with the public.”

Coca said his political career is over, but he’s happy to continue devoting time to his church, the Lions Club and other endeavors in the community.

Siegler expressed gratitude for Coca’s endorsement.

“I’ve known Luis for six or seven years,” Siegler said. “I worked for him part-time when he was chief in Rugby. He’s a good friend and he was a good boss. He has a high level of law enforcement, so for him to show support it means a great deal for me.”

Lunde plans to address more issues when he speaks to voters in the coming months.

“There are a couple things we need to improve on and the people need to hear my voice,” the incumbent said.

Bohl, Migler

trail in primaries

In county District 1, Mike Brossart earned 63.74 percent of the vote over incumbent Joe Bohl with 36.26 percent. All commissioners races will be voted on again in November. Brossart received 109 votes to Bohl’s 62.

“Being a newcomer, I didn’t know where I would stand,” Brossart said. “Joe’s been there.”

Brossart said he hopes to try to keep county employees happy and work out any problems they may have. Other goals of his include keeping the more than 30 employees at the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center, and keeping county roads in good shape.

“People have to understand,” Brossart said, “While they want lower taxes and lower mill levies, someone’s got to pay for it.”

Volk takes District 5 seat

In District 5, challenger Joe Volk came out on top by four votes over incumbent David Migler – 90 to 86. Volk had 51.14 percent to Migler’s 48.86 in the closest race in Pierce County or Rugby.

“I did some footwork to get my name out there and I suppose it’s working. I touched base with people from the district and I suppose it’s working,” Volk said. “It’s really hard coming out as the challenger, you know, with your back against the wall. Well, I suppose I’m inspired to give it heck this fall!”

Migler was unavailable for comment.

Uncontested county races

With the exception of 3.76 percent of the vote from write-ins, Rick Larson won the county District 3 primary with 96.24 percent of the vote. Larson received 179 of the 186 votes.

State’s Attorney Galen Mack retained his seat with 98.41 percent of votes with 1.59 percent going to write-ins. Mack received 927 of 942 votes.

Dave Anderson received 99.58 percent of votes to retain his seat as county representative to the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District.

Lori Miron retained her seat as county recorder with 99.69 percent of the vote and a total of 971 of 974 votes.

– Tribune editor Tim Chapman, reporter Bryce Berginski, and interns Courtney Rieder and Thor Skjelver contributed to this report.

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