Incumbent Supervisor Edges Out Challenger
Palo Alto County’s lone contested election resulted in a narrow victory for the incumbent candidate in Tuesday’s General Elections. Nearly 70 percent of the registered voters in the county turned out to cast ballots on Tuesday, as 4,846 ballots out of a possible 6,993 were cast for a 69.30 percent voter turnout. For the most part, the election came out without major difficulties, according to Palo Alto County Commissioner of Elections Gary Leonard. With larger turnouts across the nation through absentee and early balloting for the General Election, Palo Alto County voters cast 1,411 absentee ballots in the election, a 20.18 percent figure. Contested Races The lone contested election for county residents came in Supervisor District III, where incumbent supervisor Leo Goeders, who ran for re-election as an Independent defeated Democratic candidate Frank Kliegl by 17 votes, 442-425. In Emmetsburg Ward III-Emmetsburg Township Southeast, Goeders received 127 votes on Tuesday, along with 86 absentees, while Kliegl earned 124 votes with 80 absentee ballots. In Emmetsburg Ward IV, Goeders earned 145 votes and 84 absentee ballots, while Kliegl received 153 votes and 68 absentee ballots. A total of five write-in votes were cast for the election in the two precincts. In Ward III-Emmetsburg Southeast, out of 675 registered voters, 251 votes were cast in the election for the two candidates on Wednesday, along with 166 absentee ballots. In Ward IV, out of 696 registered voters, 299 ballots were cast for the two candidates on Tuesday, along with 165 absentee ballots. In a pair of contested races at the state level, State Representative Marcella R. Frevert of Emmetsburg withstood a challenge from Republican candidate Debra Satern of Estherville for re-election to the Iowa House in District Seven. Frevert, the incumbent Democratic Representative, earned 3,072 votes Tuesday, or 64.96 percent of the vote, to Satern’s 1,653 votes, or 34.95 percent. A total of four write-in ballots were cast in that election, which saw a total of 4,729 ballots cast in the county. Frevert also won in Emmet County, where she received 2,597 votes to Satern’s 2,245 votes. In Kossuth County, Frevert also earned the re-election with 2,152 votes to Satern’s 1,626 votes. The race for State Senator in District Four saw Incumbent Democrat John P. (Jack) Kibbie of Emmetsburg defeat opponent Ken Vaske of Bancroft by a margin of almost three-to-one. Kibbe, the President of the Iowa Senate, received 3,343 votes, or 76.80 percent, to Vaske’s 1,005 votes for 23.09 percent of the 4,353 total votes cast in Palo Alto County. Emmet County voters also gave their stamp of approval to Kibbie, as he earned 3,459 votes to Vaske’s 1,125 votes, another three-to-one margin. In Kossuth County, Kibbie garnered 5,311 votes in the election, while Vaske received 2,940, for an almost two-to-one margin. There were three other county government races on Tuesday’s ballot, with all three incumbent office holders earning re-election in uncontested races. Ronald D. Graettinger, a Republican, earned re-election to represent Supervisor District IV. Graettinger received 629 votes, Republican County Auditor Gary Leonard was re-elected to his post, receiving 3,759 votes and County Sheriff Dennis Goeders, a Democrat, received 4,036 votes to earn another term in office. “I’m very thankful to everyone who turned out and voted,” noted Leo Goeders following his re-election. “Now we need to continue to work to keep Palo Alto County moving forward, while being responsible and responsive to the residents of our county.” Presidential Ballot Palo Alto County voted with the nation in selecting Barack Obama and Joe Biden as the new President and Vice President on Tuesday. The Obama/McCain ticket received 2,420 votes, 50.46 of the ballots, while the team of John McCain and Sarah Palin earned 2,290 votes, or 47.75 percent of the votes. During the election, a total of 1,081 straight-party ballots were cast, with 658 for the Democratic ticket, and 423 for the Republican candidates on the ballots. In the United State Senatorial race, Incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin easily defeated Republican Christopher Reed, 3,003 to 1,662. The U.S. House of Representative race saw incumbent Republican Tom Latham earn re-election to the House with 2,763 votes, while Democratic challenger Becky Greenwald received 1,891 votes in the county. Non-Partisan Voting Local voters also had several non-contested non-partisan elections to consider on Tuesday as well. Township Trustees were elected in four townships, with Gary L. Rouse and Mike Sikora being elected in Silver Lake Township; Mike Fred Reding and David A. Bolte earning election in Fairfield Township; Tim Naig and Stewart Ohrtman earning election in Independence Township and Dennis Barber and Edward Schmalen earning election in West Bend Township. In elections for positions on the Palo Alto County Hospital Board of Trustees, Kris Ausborn earned 2,746 votes and Dean Newlon received 2,309 votes to earn election, while Tamara L. Naig was elected to a four-year term as a hospital trustee with 3,092 votes. Dawn Schmidt earned a two-year term on the hospital board of trustees by receiving 2,963 votes. Ray Brown was elected to a term on the Palo Alto Soil and Water Conservation District with 3,044 votes, with Joel Horsley and Clint Young earning terms through write-in ballots. On the Palo Alto County Agricultural Extension Council, Sara Bonnstetter received 2,435 votes; Anita Fisher earned 2,154 votes; Jerry Joyce received 2,304 votes and George D. Zech earned 2,206 votes. Judicial Ballots Several judges received voter approval to their appointments in the judiciary at the Supreme, Appeals and District court levels. In the Supreme Court, Judge Bruce Appel received 2,082 yes votes and 603 no votes for retention on the bench, while Judge Mark S. Cady received 1,984 yes votes and 602 no votes. Judge Daryl L. Hecht earned 1,939 yes votes and 610 no votes for retention on the Supreme Court. For the State Appeals Court, Judge Larry J. Eisenhauer earned 2,008 yes votes and 561 no votes, while Judge Terry L. Hultink received 1,900 yes votes and 593 no votes. Judge Rosemary Shaw Sackett received 2,080 yes votes and 585 no votes for retention on the State Appeals Court. In Judicial District 3A, Judge Patrick M. Carr received 2,052 yes votes and 550 no votes, while Judge Don E. Courtney earned 2,035 yes votes and 549 no votes. Judge John P. Duffy received 2,048 yes votes and 537 no votes for retention on the District Court bench. Constitutional Amendment Palo Alto County voters also voted on a public measure in Tuesday’s general election for a Constitutional Amendment, asking for a change in the language of the state constitution describing a person who cannot legally vote from “idiot or insane person” to “a person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote.” Voters approved the amendment with 2,909 yes votes, opposed to 561 no votes. All ballot totals are considered unofficial until the official canvass of the votes is completed by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors this coming Monday, November 10.