No one was eliminated from contention in the primary election for Ward County commissioner Tuesday, but the results give candidates and voters an early snapshot of how the electorate is leaning. All three candidates move on to the Nov. 4 general election.
Challengers Larry Louser and Kari Lee Conrad were on the primary ballot along with incumbent commissioner John Fjeldahl. Fjeldahl's seat is one of two positions that will be placed before the voters in November. The other seat to be decided in the fall is currently filled by Commission Chairman Jerome Gruenberg, Burlington. Gruenberg has announced he will not seek another four-year term.
Fjeldahl, who is seeking a third term, was the top vote-getter (2,290) among the three commission candidates Tuesday but was followed closely by newcomer Larry Louser (2,154).
"I appreciate the support and look forward to the November election," Fjeldahl told the Minot Daily News Tuesday night. "I think it will be an interesting race. We come from different perspectives, different ways of life."
Louser captured the majority of votes at three Minot voting sites and came within five votes of winning the fourth. He expressed his appreciation for voter support Tuesday but added he was somewhat surprised by what he considered a less than anticipated turnout.
"I was anticipating somewhere between seven and eight thousand votes," said Louser. "None of us were really out campaigning very hard knowing that we were moving forward. I do have some confidence shown here and I hope to gain some more by November. I have two ears and one mouth and I believe I'll use them proportionately."
Like Fjeldahl and Louser, Kari Lee Conrad who has 1,786 votes also advances to the November election. Conrad served two terms as Ward County Commissioner from 1992-2000 and in the State House from 2004-2010. As for the primary, Conrad downplayed the results.
"I don't think it means anything. I don't think it means anything. I don't think anybody campaigned," said Conrad. "Whenever there's a vote, it's important and I think there are a lot of issues before the people of Ward County. There are still many, many people that have not recovered from the flood. I think there is a lot of things that can be done to make this a good, positive place to live again."