Contested local races reflect interest, willingness to serve

The field is set for local elections in 2018 and the good news is that voters will have some decisions to make when they go to the polls in May and November.
The slate of candidates grew considerably in the final days before last week’s deadline, which is always an interesting wait-and-see process. There were no doubt many, many phone calls, emails and conversations over coffee in the last few weeks about who should throw their hat in the ring, knowing that it’s a huge step and commitment to write your name in as a candidate for public office.
Thank you to all who have offered your time and talent to serve!
Now that the filing deadline has come and gone, the campaign season has arrived, though several of the local races will not be decided until November. On that note, the News-Register offered a brief introduction to candidates in each of the contested races this week and will be getting more in depth with profiles before election day in May and November.
In Aurora, Marlin Seeman, Phil Hupf and Stan Valasek have filed for mayor, prompting a May primary to see which two will advance to the decisive November vote.
At the county level, Becky Richter will face a challenge from Rick Kinsey in the District 1 race for county commissioner, while Dist. 5 incumbent Tim Bergen has two challengers in Roger Nunnenkamp and Ivan Hongsermeier. Both of those races will be decided in May since all the candidates have filed as Republicans.
There are also four candidates for three seats on the Aurora and Hampton school boards. In Aurora, incumbents Cory Ohlson, Pat Shaw and Cyndi Muilenburg will be joined on the ballot by Andrew Ostdiek. In Hampton, incumbents Linda Troester and Karl Block are joined by challengers Grant Dose and Kayla Gaughen. Gaughen has also filed as a candidate for the Hampton village board. Those races will be decided in November.
Another local candidate who has been on the campaign trail for months already is Kirk Penner of Aurora, who is challenging Third District Congressman Adrian Smith in the May primary. We’re waiting for word on a debate in that race and look forward to covering that in detail.
Elections do matter, as does your vote, so stay tuned between now and decision day.
Kurt Johnson

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