Our View: Not many primary races, but voters still neededA fall primary election is scheduled Sept. 9, but there are a couple of important decisions to be made in the primary, and voters should understand the candidates and the impact of the primary.
A fall primary election is scheduled Sept. 9, but there are a couple of important decisions to be made in the primary, and voters should understand the candidates and the impact of the primary.
This fall’s primary is slightly different from most. In most primaries, a candidate is selected from a field of two or more to face an opponent in the November election.
What is unique this year is that the winner of one county office will likely be determined in the primary. Incumbent St. Croix County Register of Deeds Kathleen Walsh is not running for re-election and the two candidates who filed to run for the post are both running as Democrats — no candidates filed to run as Republicans.
The two Democrats running for the post are Geri Campbell of Roberts and Beth Pabst of Hammond. What it all means is that the winner of the Sept. 9 primary will likely be the new register of deeds. Whichever candidate wins the primary will essentially run unopposed in the November election.
Making the selection process even more unique is that primary elections do not allow crossover voting. Anyone who votes on the Republican side of the ballot will not have a voice in selecting the new register of deeds. Additionally, primary elections attract smaller crowds of voters. Without many races on the ballot, the next register of deeds could be chosen by a relatively small number of voters.
It should be pointed out that a Republican could announce as a write-in and if that person garnered enough votes, could have his or her name on the November ballot. In the world of county politics, however, that is extremely unlikely. It’s even more unlikely since we are just two-plus weeks away from the primary and nobody has stepped forward on the Republican side.
Both Campbell and Pabst have experience in the office, and voters who plan to vote on the Democrat side of the ballot should study the candidates and make a decision on which is best suited to serve. For candidate information, read the Star-Observer in the upcoming weeks or visit www.choosecampbell.com or www.pickpabst.com.
Another interesting race has developed on the Republican side. Incumbent 30th District State Rep. Kitty Rhoades has a Republican challenge from Bob Hughes of River Falls. Again, Rhoades is the obvious favorite, but with that race being the only one on the Republican side of the primary ballot, the winner could be determined by a relatively small block of voters. It is not often that voters see an incumbent challenged in a primary. The Rhoades-Hughes winner will face Democrat Sarah Bruch in the November election.
In the 29th District for state representative, two Democrats (L. John Peters and Chris Buckel) will battle in the primary with the winner facing incumbent Republican John Murtha. The 29th District does not include the Hudson area, but does cover much of St. Croix County.
The bottom line is that there are not many races in the primary, but enough Democrats and Republicans must vote to make the important decisions being presented. So when you see these people out campaigning, it’s not that they are starting early — they have a very short time to spread the word. They have to earn their support between now and the Sept. 9 primary.