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Roundup of election races in nine northeast North Dakota counties

There will be some new sheriffs and a few new county commissioners in northeast North Dakota after the Nov. 4 election. Here is a county-by-county look at contested northeast North Dakota races in the Nov. 4 election. All terms, unless otherwise ...

There will be some new sheriffs and a few new county commissioners in northeast North Dakota after the Nov. 4 election.

Here is a county-by-county look at contested northeast North Dakota races in the Nov. 4 election. All terms, unless otherwise noted, are for four years.

Benson County

Two people are vying to replace retiring District 3 County Commissioner Curtis Hvinden, Maddock. They are Jason Knatterud and Doris Griffin, both of Oberon.

Sheriff Steven Rohrer, Minnewaukan, is facing a challenge from Leon LaRoque Sr., Fort Totten.


Cavalier County

Two longtime county commissioners are stepping down this year. Richard Flanders, who has served since 1995, and Harold Nowatzki, who started in 1999, will retire at the end of the year.

One incumbent, Elsie Magnus, Langdon, and five hopefuls are on the ballot for three four-year terms on the County Commission. The top three vote-getters win.

Besides Magnus, the candidates are: William “Willy” Thom, Langdon; Tom Valentine, Wales; Shauna Schneider, Wales; Stanley Dick, Munich; and Nicholas Moser, Langdon.

Lisa Gellner and Stephanie Benjoit Nelson, both of Langdon, are vying for the county auditor position now held by Dawn Roppel, Langdon.

Nelson County

Only one race is on tap in Nelson County. Becky Nelson and JoAnna Lonski are vying for the job as county recorder/clerk of district court. The position is currently held by Ruth Stevens, who is retiring.

Lonski currently is the county’s deputy recorder/clerk of court, while Nelson held the position before Lonski. Both live in Lakota.


Interim Sheriff Keith Olson, Lakota, is the lone candidate on the ballot. Olson was appointed to the position in January, when then-Sheriff Kelly Janke resigned under fire to avoid criminal prosecution over a charge involving a former romantic relationship outside his marriage.

Voters also will decide whether to increase the Nelson County Historical Society levy from ¼-mill to ¾-mill to support the Pioneer Village at Stump Lake Park, the county-owned park on Stump Lake, south of Lakota.

One mill currently brings in about $23,000 annually. The measure requires a 60-percent majority to pass, according to the county auditor.

Pembina County

 Sheriff Brian Erovick is being challenged by Terry Meidinger, a police officer in Walhalla.

Two candidates are on the ballot to succeed District 5 Commissioner Andy Adamson, Drayton, who is not seeking another term. They are Nick Rutherford, Drayton, and Catherine Lunde, St. Thomas.

Ramsey County

Two incumbent county commissioners, Ed Brown, and Scott Diseth, are being challenged by Jay Klemetsrud, Devils Lake, and Adam Leiphon, Crary.


Klemetsrud, a retired businessman, currently serves on the Creel Township board of supervisors.

Leiphon, a farmer and athletic trainer, is active in the Ramsey County Farmers Union.

Steele County

While two people are listed on the ballot for county auditor, only one, Emily (Halverson) Wigen, is actually running.

Incumbent Elisha Washburn, who resigned from her job in August, has not campaigned and has told the Herald she would not accept the job even if she would be elected.

Wigen is the former county tax director who was dismissed in March during a county investigation into lost or missing data from county computers. She also is a former deputy county auditor.

Meanwhile, three county commissioners and the sheriff are facing election challenges. 

District 1 incumbent Dennis Lindstrom, Finley, is being challenged by Brian Tuite, Finley.


District 3 incumbent Ted Johnson, Hope, is facing challenger Jay Showers, Clifford

District 5 incumbent Jane Amundson, Sharon, is challenged by Russell Walcker, Finley.

Sheriff Wayne Beckman, Finley, is being challenged by Deputy Sheriff Justin Wells, Finley.

Steele County voters also will decide on a county 10-mill ambulance service levy.

Towner County

A new sheriff will be elected in Towner County. Candidates are current Towner County Deputy Sheriff Dustin Kuchar and Cando Police Chief Andrew Hillier.

Current Sheriff Dana Pollman is not seeking election. He was appointed to the position in April, when then-Sheriff Vaughn Klier retired.

Traill County


Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker is giving up his job to run for the County Commission.

Crocker is trying to unseat District 1 Commissioner Thomas Eblen. Both are from Hillsboro.

In District 3, incumbent Gail Mooney, Cummings, is facing Kendall Nesvig, Buxton.

Traill County also has two measures on the ballot.

The county is seeking authority to increase the current 15-mill farm-to-market road levy by as much as 10 mills. One mill currently brings in $44,561 annually, according to County Auditor Becca Braaten.

In the other issue, voters will decide whether the county should be allowed to grant property tax exemptions to new retail sector businesses.

Walsh County

The city of Grafton is seeking a one-half percent city sales tax increase.


The tax is being proposed to help fund the planned city flood control project. If approved, it would generate about $200,000 annually for the next 25 years.

Grafton already has a 2-percent sales tax, with 1.5 percent going to the Grafton Community Development Fund, the other 0.5 percent going to Unity Hospital.

Deputy Sheriff Ron Jurgens is unopposed in his bid to replace Sheriff Lauren Wild, who decided not to seek election.

Running for County Commission, incumbents Luther Meberg, Ernie Barta and Allen Ruzicka are being challenged by Loren Moe, Edinburg, and by former commissioner Lawrence Burianek, Grafton. The top three vote-getters win four-year jobs.

In the treasurer race, incumbent Jill Trenda, Hoople, is being challenged by Carole DeMars, Grafton. 

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