Voters turn out in huge numbers
Republicans sweep Districts 10 and 19
COUNTY –A larger turnout than expected in Walsh County caused Auditor Sharon Kinsala to print and manually count an extra 301 Grafton city ballots for walk-in voters during Tuesday’s general election.
A total of 5,201 ballots were cast this presidential year in the county versus 5,003 in 2008. A total of 4,032 absentee ballots were mailed to eligible county voters and as of Monday 3,532 ballots were returned.
City of Grafton
Measure 1, which reduces the number of city council members from 10 to 8 passed by a margin of 1,077 to 496. At this time there is no decision on how the council will be reduced.
City of Forest River
Residents of Forest River voted in favor of levying taxes annually in the amount not to exceed 15 mills per year for contracted fire protection from the Minto Rural Fire Department.
The race for Walsh County Commissioner was won by Jack Karas and newcomer Karen Anderson. Karas was the top vote getter with 2,677 votes with Anderson receiving 2,662. Anderson will replace incumbent Lawrence Burianek who came in with 2,580 votes.
The Citizens Initiated Measure 1, a shared parenting measure overwhelmingly passed by a margin of 3 to 1. This initiated measure allows parents to bring a petition before the Walsh County Court at any time to complete a “fitness hearing” for the purpose of obtaining equal physical custody. This measure also requires both parents to be labeled as “primary caretakers” of the child/children.
Republicans swept both District 10 and 19 races for seats in the North Dakota House of Representatives. In District 10, Charles “Chuck” Damschen and David Monson ran unopposed for the House of Representatives. Monson received 4,901 votes and Damschen received 4,264 votes.
Two Republicans will hold the first two seats from District 19 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
Wayne Trottier received 2,984 votes and Gary Paur was close behind with 2,978 votes. Democrats Robert “Tork” Kilichowski took third in the race with 2,450 votes and Carol Gierszewski received 2,100 votes.
Former District 16 Senator Joe Miller, despite his limited campaigning due to a farm injury, won the District 10 State Senate seat by a 2 to 1 margin. Miller, a Republican, received 4,659 votes. His Democrat opponent Daryl Passa received 2,065 votes.
Two newcomers to the political field, Republican Tom Campbell and Democrat Julius Wangler fought a hard, close battle with Campbell coming out ahead for the newly created District 19 State Senate seat.
Campbell, running on the republican ticket, received 3,488 votes to Democrat Wangler’s 2,304 votes.
US Senate race
In the closely contested race for the vacant North Dakota seat for the U.S. Senate, Walsh County followed the state in voting for former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp received 2,813 votes in Walsh County compared to 2,266 for Rick Berg.
As of press time with 100 percent of precincts in the state reporting, Heitkamp had 50.25 percent of the vote to 49.31 percent for Berg. According to the official North Dakota State website, there is the possibility of a demand for a recount in the race.
According to Kinsala, there currently are no plans to recount votes in Walsh County and won’t be unless she is directed to do so by the North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger.