Ward County seeks another candidate

Successful write-in needed to fill commission vacancy

Jim Rostad

Ward County needs a candidate with a strong write-in campaign to avoid a vacancy on the county commission at the end of this year.

Current Commissioner Jim Rostad did not file for reelection but said Wednesday he is open to continuing in the position if enough voters put his name on their ballots.

Two people have filed to run for the commission, which will have three openings. The four-year terms of Rostad, Shelly Weppler and Howard “Bucky” Anderson are expiring, but only Weppler filed by Monday’s deadline for reelection. Jedidiah Rader, who lists his campaign address as Ryder, also has filed, which leaves the number of candidates one short of the number of openings.

County Auditor Marisa Haman said state law isn’t completely clear in this area, but conversations with the Secretary of State’s Office indicate that a write-in candidate receiving at least 300 votes in the primary could then fill out an affidavit of candidacy and advance to the general election. If a candidate runs as a run-in in the November general election instead, 300 votes would be needed at that time, also.

Multiple write-in candidates could advance in the primary. Because Ward County’s commission seats are at-large, as many as six people – either on the ballot or write-ins – can advance to the general election. The top three finishers in official results would be considered elected following the November contest. If no write-in receives 300 votes, the commission could appoint or hold a special election to fill the seat until the next election in 2026.

Jedidiah Rader

Rostad said he is willing to serve but has felt it may be time for a fresh, younger candidate. He did not seek the signatures to file because in gauging the initial interest, it appeared there would be other candidates, he said. He was out of town for a while, and when he returned and learned only two candidates filed, it was too late to successfully gather 300 signatures. He said he regrets not collecting signatures just in case.

“But if people write me in, I would accept being on again,” Rostad said.

Anderson is finishing his first four-year term on the commission. He said he is at an age at which he believes he should step away. However, the former farmer and educator has taken up ranching and said that also will make less time available to serve on the commission in future years. Anderson is pleased to have served, though.

“I have kind of enjoyed it. I think the county has very good people who work for us,” he said.

Shelly Weppler


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