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Rost, Knauf and Falck lead in tight County Commission race

Kyle Kvamme1 / 5
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UND's and Minnesota's during their first round playoff game at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks Friday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
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Election results for three available seats on the Grand Forks County Commission were tight Tuesday night, with two candidates close enough to trigger a recount.

Former Sheriff Bob Rost and incumbents Diane Knauf and Tom Falck appear to have won the race according to unofficial results with all 27 precincts reporting. Rost received 27.8 percent of the popular vote, Knauf 25.25 percent and Falck 17.53.

Challenger Kyle Kvamme was close behind, with 17.45 percent of the popular vote, while other challenger Jeffrey Powell received 11.44 percent.

“An automatic recount has been triggered, and then we have to wait for absentee ballots to come in,” Kvamme said Tuesday night. “We know we have some votes that are still for us out there in the mail right now.”

If Falck remains ahead, he will enter his second term on the Grand Forks County Commission. He said Tuesday night he was grateful for all the voters who supported him and he’s looking forward to another four-year term.

“I’ve been focused on the Grand Sky project, which I think is a great project for Grand Forks County,” Falck said, referring to a technical aviation park outside the city of Grand Forks for unmanned aircraft.

By bringing more jobs to the county, Falck has previously said the park has revitalized the local economy.

“I really want to spend some additional time to solidify that project,” he added Tuesday night.

Upon learning he received most of the popular vote, Rost said he was “very happy” to have made the cut alongside returning commissioners Knauf and Falck.

“That’s kind of the way I was hoping it would end up,” Rost said. “I hope I can add to the team and make a good county commissioner.”

The Herald was unable to reach Knauf for immediate comment. According to polling results, she will move on to serve her third term as county commissioner.

Since announcing their runs for County Commission, the candidates, all residents of the city of Grand Forks, had said they opposed raising taxes. Transparency, social services and rejuvenating the local workforce all came up as important subjects for incumbent and challenging candidates alike.

Kvamme is an architect with Icon Architectural Group in Grand Forks. Throughout his campaign, he touted a “Commuter Initiative” in media interviews and candidates forums, which would encourage young workers and families to look at housing in smaller cities outside Grand Forks. Powell is Directory of Student Life at Mayville State University.

“Elections are about the future,” Powell said Tuesday night. “I hope that the people who will continue to be on the (commission) will be mindful that our community is hurt, and they have not lead in the ways that we need them to lead. It’s time for them to step up.”

Emily Allen

Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at eallen@gfherald.com or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.

(701) 780-1102