There was some change in the Ward County Commission after Tuesday's general election.
In the race for three open seats, former Minot public works director Alan Walter led the way with 14,962 votes. Incumbent Jack Nybakken was next in line with 13,330 votes. The third and final seat went to Shelly Weppler with 11,130 votes.
Former commissioner Jim Lee came up just short with 11,056 votes, which was only 74 behind Weppler, close enough to possibly trigger a recount, while incumbent Bruce I. Christianson lost his bid for re-election with 9,432 votes.
Weppler was still in a close race with Lee for the third and final spot on the commission when The Minot Daily News contacted her late Tuesday night.
"I'm very hopeful, very excited about the possibility of being able to serve," Weppler said.
Weppler said she focused solely on what she was doing during the campaign season, not on what any of the other candidates were doing.
"I wasn't looking to see what the others were doing," Weppler said. "I did what I felt I needed to do in order to visit with the people and secure a spot on the commission."
In the end, Weppler thinks she won her seat because the people of Ward County were looking for a fresh voice on the commission.
"I really was hopeful that I would get the opportunity to be able to have a voice on the commission, and I'm excited that that looks like it may be so," Weppler said.
Although he came up short in his re-election bid, Christianson was thankful for the time he did get to spend on the commission serving the people of Ward County.
"I've certainly enjoyed my four years in the commission, and thank everybody for voting today," Christianson said.
While his time on the commission is coming to a close, Christianson is extremely proud of helping to get the 1/2-cent sales tax passed to help fund a new office building, infrastructure needs, jail expansion and courthouse remodel. The county has been wrestling with space needs for a number of years, and Christianson was incredibly proud of being able to finally put that problem to rest.
"That certainly does give me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction," Christianson said. "Again, I certainly enjoyed my four years on the commission and that's the way it is."
Walter attributed his success in the commission race to all the years he spent working for the City of Minot. While he was thrilled to be elected to the county commission, he knows his work has only started.
"It feels good to have the people support you the way they have," Walter said. "But now the work begins. Putting out the signs and having meetings with the campaign committee are over. Now you're standing there doing work."
Walter said while his experience with the city will definitely be a help, he knows the county government has its own nuances that he will need to learn.
"I know I've got a lot to learn," Walter said. "I've been associated with the city government for 44 years. Now I've got to learn the county government."