Voters to consider several contested races this November
Filing deadlines closed Thursday for candidates seeking local city offices and school board seats. Dickinson County voters will cast ballots in 11 different contested races this November, and additional ballot measures will be posed to voters in some areas.
School board ballots to be sizeable
All five seats on the Spirit Lake School Board will be on the Nov. 7 ballot in one form or another. Incumbent board president Teresa Beck and fellow board member Greta Gruys have filed for reelection. Board member Jeromy Mouw, who was appointed to the board in May following the resignation of former board member Kerri McKim, is also seeking one of the board's three regular seats, along with candidates Tyler Alger and Linda Moore.
Voters will also choose two candidates from a field of four to fill a pair of vacancies on the board this cycle. Current Spirit Lake School Board Vice President Sonja Hamm has filed to fill one of those vacancies, according to information provided by the Dickinson County Auditor's Office, as have candidates Michele Goodenow, Mieka Stecker and Yvonne Taylor. Current board member Luke Lundt, who was appointed to the school board in April following the resignation of former board vice president Scott Trautman, did not file to maintain his seat.
The race for the Okoboji School Board will be nearly as populated. A total of seven candidates are seeking election to one of three open seats. Incumbent John Klopstad was the only current board member to seek reelection this cycle. He will be joined on the ballot by candidates Allison Antoine, Jeanne Fisher, Brian Hinshaw, Joe Kennedy, Amanda Plathe and Ryan Schmidt.
Voters in the Harris-Lake Park School District will have fewer options to consider come election day. H-LP board members are divided by districts, but each district drew only a single candidate as of Thursday's deadline. Board member Ebony Rahe filed for reelection, as did Jamie Reverts, who was appointed to the board in February of 2022 after former board member Arin Elser stepped down earlier that year. Candidate Douglas Goodell filed for the District 5 directorship – that district is currently represented by H-LP School Board President Evan Bensley, who did not file for reelection.
Voters will also be be casting ballots for representation among several districts in Iowa Lakes Community College's regional footprint. Arden Kinnander of Armstrong has filed to represent District 1, Janice Lund of Estherville has filed as the lone District 2 candidate and Jane Goeken of Spencer will be the single name on the ballot for District 4 — no candidate declared themselves for the District 5 seat as of Thursday's filing deadline.
Contested city races to pepper ballot
There will only be two contested mayoral races in Dickinson County this year, but one is sure to result in a new mayor for Spirit Lake.
Spirit Lake's current mayor Bruce Kennan did not file for reelection. Current Spirit Lake City Councilman Kevin Bice is seeking the mayor's chair, along with candidate Nate Vortherms. The Spirit Lake City Council is also expecting a contested race. A total of five candidates are seeking three open council seats. Incumbents Keith Brockmeyer and Jerry Harbst have filed for reelection, and they will face off against candidates David Mensing, Brett Johnson and Kent Baschke.
Voters in the city of Terril will have two names to choose from when deciding who will be their next mayor. Incumbent Julie Thiesen has been challenged by Mollie Petersen. The Terril City Council has as many candidates running this cycle as it does open seats — Amy Ness, Shawn Adams and Sara Laidig are seeking the public's approval.
There won't be any competition on the ballot for Arnolds Park Mayor Jim Hussong, Lake Park Mayor Matt Carstensen, Milford Mayor Steve Anderson, Okoboji Mayor Mary Vander Woude, Orleans Mayor Bill Maas, Superior Mayor James Tendal, Wahpeton Mayor Phillip Johnson or West Okoboji Mayor Craig Miner.
But a number of other city races will see some competition.
Current Arnolds Park City Council members John Adams, Jason Christensen and James Jensen will be joined on the ballot by candidate Mike Koppert. Milford voters will choose two candidates from a field of four — incumbent Shane Hoffman filed for reelection, as did candidates Kyle Mohni and Derek Schwery. Current Milford City Council member Dave Worshek is seeking to fill a vacancy this cycle, according to staff at the county auditor's office. Voters in Orleans will also have some decisions to make. Incumbent city council members Terry Wilts and Kristine Hoss will face off against candidates Dean Madagan and Peggy Rick in the race for two open council seats. There are four candidates seeking three open seats on the West Okoboji City Council this year. Current council members Paul Sieh, Mike Olson and Robert Hein met Thursday's filing deadline for reelection, and candidate Teresa Schoelerman is also seeking a seat on the council.
The Lake Park City Council has two seats open this election cycle, but only one candidate — Whitney Thiessen — filed candidacy papers. Incumbent Okoboji City Council members Jim Delperdang and Jim Hentges filed to fill the only two open seats on the council this year. Similarly, voters in Superior will have only two names to consider when filling their city council's regular open seats in November. Arnold Rinke and Terry Buchman have filed candidacy papers in that race. The city is also in need of filling a vacancy — candidate Kristy Blom was the lone candidate to file for for that position. Similarly, the Wahpeton City Council will fill two regular seats this cycle — incumbents Bradley Jones and Holly Mead filed candidate papers. And candidate Rosalise Olson, who intends to fill a vacancy on the council, was the only one to file for that particular race.
Public to vote on pair of public measures
Some Dickinson County voters will also have additional measures to consider as part of the November election.
Voters in Orleans will decide whether the city will impose a 7 percent hotel/motel tax within the city limits. If approved by the public, the tax would go into effect as of Jan. 1, 2024.
Voters in the Harris-Lake Park School District will consider an $18.6 million bond referendum. The bond will potentially fund several district improvements, including the construction of an elementary addition on the district's middle school/high school building, infrastructure updates to the existing middle school/high school and improvements to H-LP's transportation facilities as well as some athletic fields.
Absentee voting options
Absentee ballot request forms are currently available on the Dickinson County Auditor's website. Absentee requests can be made 75 days before Election Day. Staff at the county auditor's office said Oct. 18 will be the first day the public can begin voting absentee, and requests for an absentee ballot must be submitted no later than Oct. 25. Absentee ballots may be cast in person at the auditor's office through Nov. 6 — staff noted there will be no Saturday voting ahead of the Nov. 7 election.