A seven-candidate field for the Black River Falls School Board will top local races in Tuesday’s Spring Election.
All but one village in the county will have contested races, and two seats on the Jackson County Board will be challenged in the April 3 vote. The election also will feature Wisconsin’s presidential preference primary for the Republican Party.
Jackson County Clerk Kyle Deno said she expects the county to see higher than the normal 22 percent Spring Election voter turnout since the presidential primary in the past has coincided with the February spring primary.
“I would expect a good turnout for the Spring Election,” Deno said. “I really don’t recall that we have had a presidential preference vote at this election — usually it was held with the February election.
“I think normally we would see approximately a 3,000 to 3,500 voter turnout for an April election.”
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is predicting up to 35 percent of the voting age population — or approximately 1.5 million people — will turn out to vote Tuesday.
“We expect turnout in this election to be similar to the February 2008 presidential preference primary,” said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the GAB. “The Republican presidential nomination is still very contested, just as the Democratic nomination was very contested when Wisconsin voted in 2008.”
The GAB said the major draw for the Spring Election will be the Republican presidential preference primary, in which candidates will be vying for 42 delegates in a winner-take-all contest. There will be six Republicans on the ballot: Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Gov. Huntsman and Rep. Bachmann did not respond to the GAB’s requests to remove their names from the ballot after they dropped out of the race.
President Barack Obama is the only name on the Democratic primary ballot. The only state office elections are in the four Wisconsin Court of Appeals districts and several circuit court districts; District 4 Court of Appeals Judge Joanne F. Kloppenburg, who’s running unopposed, is on the ballot for Jackson County voters.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Questionnaires and profiles of candidates in locally contested races are featured in this week’s Chronicle on pages A8-A10.
Locally, the Black River Falls School Board race is expected to be the biggest draw for area voters. The race for three seats will have five candidates on the ballot, but a pair of write-ins also adds to the pool.
School board incumbents Mark Thomley, on since last June, and Mary Jo Rozmenoski, on since 2008, will run again, but nine-year board member and former board President Don Mathews will not seek re-election. Retired Black River Falls teachers Axel Dressler, Mary Jo Radcliffe and Durwood Amundson, a former board member, also will be on the ballot. Former district employee Tina Boisen and Ho-Chunk Youth Services employee Iftikhar Memon, who sought election last year, will run as write-in candidates.
The Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan School Board also will be contested with three people running for two seats. Incumbent Kristi Hanson, who had been on the board since 2004, opted not to seek re-election, but three-year incumbent Tony Lien will run again. Lien will be joined on the ballot by newcomers Ryan Stubrud of Alma Center and retired Lincoln math teacher Ed Schufletowski.
In Melrose-Mindoro, two seats up for re-election will be unopposed. Incumbents Kathy Dunn, on since 2006, and Becky Gerdes, on since 2003, will seek re-election.
All 19 Jackson County Board supervisor seats are up for re-election. Most incumbents will run again, but there will be two contested races.
Business owner Randy Molini and former Jackson County Assistant DA Margaret Rewald will vie for District 8 after 17-year Supervisor Gary Olson opted to not seek re-election. In District 19, incumbent Doug Hurlburt will try to defend his seat against newcomer Danny Iverson; Hurlburt has been on the county board for 10 years, and Iverson is a logger.
District 18 will be determined by write-ins after Supervisor John Bahnub didn’t file for re-election and no candidates emerged.
Three other seats are slated for new faces.
Supervisor Jim Olson, on since 2006, opted not to seek re-election, and Melrose Township resident Larry Blaken has filed to run for the seat. District 14 Supervisor Lois Ferries, on the board since April 1984, also opted not to run again, and Black River Falls resident John Chrest filed to run for the position.
Former Black River Falls Mayor Joe Hunter also has decided to make a run for the board after filing papers for the District 15 seat formerly held by Don Evenson, who died in August. Hunter was mayor of BRF from 2000-08.
Merrillan and Taylor will lead the village races as both have six candidates running for three seats.
Merrillan incumbents Doreen Demaskie, Margaret Young and Debra Horan will be challenged by newcomers Ryan Johnson, Craig Danielson and William Johnson. Both Horan and Young, the village’s former president, were appointed last year to fill board resignations. Demaskie is a 13-year trustee.
In Taylor, incumbents Cathy Rose, Steven Roseth and Larry Lythjohan will be challenged by newcomers Teri Syverson, Erin Hanson and Gaylord L. Rhoades, a past village president write-in candidate. Rose has been on the board since 2003, Lythjohan has been on since 2006 and Roseth, who previously served as a trustee, most recently has been on since his December 2011 appointment for Cheryl Hanson.
The village of Alma Center will have four candidates running for three seats up for re-election. Former Alma Center President Don Larson will challenge incumbent trustees Kenneth Ristow, Connie Patterson and David Laufenberg.
The Hixton Village Board will feature three candidates running for two seats up for re-election. Trustee Mike Jarrett opted to not run again, but incumbent Gene Larson, elected in 2010, will face newcomer Joe Forman and former trustee Gaylin West.
Hixton also will have a special election for village president. Danny Cowley — who was elected to two trustee terms and became acting president after the November 2011 death of Kent Olson — will run unopposed. The term will be for one year.
Melrose is the only village that won’t have a contested race. Incumbents Jane Lash and Tom Dobbs opted to not seek re-election, and they’ll be replaced by newcomers Nathan Young and Brant Young. Two-year incumbent Jerry Radcliffe will seek re-election and fill the third open seat. Lash was on the board for eight years, and Dobbs had 10 years in two separate stints.
The Black River Falls City Council won’t see any contested races this spring after the mayor and four incumbent alderpersons decided to seek re-election.
Mayor Ron Danielson, who has been on the council since 1990 and mayor since 2008, will run again. Ward 1 Alderperson Brad Rahmlow, on since April 2008, Ward 2 Alderperson Norm Herman on since April 2011, Ward 3 Alderperson Tony Chojnacki, on since April 2010 and Ward 4 Alderperson Jay Eddy, on since April 2008, also will seek re-election.