By Bryan Gallegos
Dunn County Herald
With a voter turnout that turned more than a few heads, Dunn County re-elected Robert Kleeman and Reinhard Hauck to the county commission.
More than 2,250 voters from a dozen precincts in the county cast their vote, either by hand at eight polling places, or by absentee ballot. It was the highest turnout in decades, officials said.
They cast their votes in local, state and national races, including the presidential race that saw Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton for the White House.
“That the most voters I’ve ever seen,” said Hauck, who served for years as the county auditor before running for the commission in 2012. “That’s great to see that many people voting.”
The Dunn County Commission race featured four running for office, two incumbents another with two terms under his belt and a newcomer. And it was close.
“We had some good candidates,” said Mary Smith, moments after she cast her vote. “It was hard to choose.”
Kleeman garnered the most votes with a total of 1,206, while Hauck had 1,082. The third candidate, Glenn Eckleberg, who was seeking his third term, had 707 votes. Political newcomer Joann Marsh-Brew had 689 votes.
These numbers are unofficial, said Dunn County Auditor Tracy Dolezal, until the Canvass Board can confirm them. The board, scheduled to meet on Monday, is made up of the chairman of the county commission, the county auditor and clerk & recorder, and representatives from each party in districts 4, 36 and 39, Dolezal said.
The board will review all ballots, looking for potential discrepancies or irregularities, said Dolezal. After the review, the board will sign off on the electoral results.
“I appreciate the confidence the voters have put toward me,” said Hauck, adding that over the next four years, he plans to keep working on moving the county forward by keeping spending down.
With the oil boom down, it is a time of declining revenue. Hauck said his goal is to “try not to raise taxes.”
“We’re just going to have to do the best with what we have,” he said.
Kleeman’s victory earned him a spot on the commission for the fourth time. He served two full terms and most recently was completing a term during the time the commission was expanded to five commissioners.
He was unavailable for comment on Wednesday, but had said earlier that “he wanted to be a spokesman for the people.”
“With my three children and seven grandkids here, I want to work to keep jobs available, yet make sure Dunn County stays a safe, clean and healthy place for people to raise their families,” Kleeman said before the election.
Both commissioners had previously indicated a frustration over the state usurping the county authority regarding environmental issues. Both have said they will continue to address those issues to ensure a proper procedure is in place.