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Friday, April 07, 2006

A few new faces

A few new faces will be in a few new places following Tuesday’s election. The Walworth County board will have two new members and the city of Elkhorn has a new mayor. Here’s a brief look at some of the major races in Walworth County:
~Mike Heine, The Week

County Board
Challenger Dan Kilkenny unseated incumbent Walworth County Supervisor Jerry Waelti for the District 18 seat.
Kilkenny tallied 329 votes to Waelti’s 298.
“I’m happy. It’s hard to beat an incumbent,” Kilkenny said. “I worked hard. I have great respect for Jerry. When I was campaigning, I heard a lot of great things about him. He was well-respected. But I’m glad to hear the voters thought I would do well.”
Kilkenny, 49, a Delavan lawyer, is no stranger to political office. He is also a town of Darien supervisor, a position he’s held since 2001.
Waelti, 67, served just one term on the board. He was vice chairman of the Finance Committee and was a member of the Children with Disabilities Educational Board.
“I’m just disappointed that I will not be able to serve Walworth County in the next couple of years,” Waelti said. “Having said that, it has been a fun time the last two years and interesting and time consuming. I liked it.”
Waelti did not rule out running again in 2008. He intends to remain on as president of the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance.
Kilkenny said he is willing to listen to his constituents and hopes he can serve them well.
District 18 encompasses the western half of the city of Delavan and a small portion of the town of Darien.

In the District 10 race, Kathy Ingersoll, 61, won over fellow newcomer Paul R. Nelson, 62.
Ingersoll will take the seat vacated by Betty Felten, who is moving from the district.
“I felt like my opponent was very knowledgeable and knew what he was talking about, maybe even more so than me,” Ingersoll said. “But I am willing to work hard and be responsible to my position and my constituency.”
Ingersoll admits she has a lot to learn about political life.
“I need to catch up,” she said. “I’m going to go in and work hard. It will take me a while to fully understand my position, but I will work hard on that and to understand the issues that are before us.”
District 10 covers northwestern Elkhorn and southeastern Sugar Creek Township.
The other 23 county board incumbents ran unopposed. All have retained their seats.

Elkhorn Mayor
Challenger John Giese, 57, slipped by incumbent Michael Roberts, 51, by just 25 votes.
Giese, the city’s former police chief, took the post, 653-628.
Giese has held office twice before as a city alderman. He held two one-year terms in 2002 and 2004.
Roberts was elected mayor in 2002.

Delavan Mayor
Incumbent Mel Nieuwenhuis, 44, retained his seat by defeating two challengers, Ellen Reddy, 47, and Ron Siedelmann, 62.
Nieuwenhuis collected 662 votes to Reddy’s 585 and Siedelmann’s 190.
Nieuwenhuis has been mayor since 2002.

Lake Geneva Mayor
Mayor Sheldon Shepstone, 77, will start a second term after handedly defeating former alderman Wesley “Pete” Peterson, 720-317.
Shepstone has served as a Lake Geneva alderman for 27 years, not all consecutive.

Voter turnout
An estimated 14 percent of eligible voters came to the polls Tuesday. A total of 10,405 ballots were cast, up 1,180 from two years ago.
Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey said the totals were typical for this kind of election.
“Basically, it was pretty standard,” Bushey said. “I think the turnout was fairly routine for this variety of election.”
There were three closely contested races, separated by less than 10 votes.
In the town of Delavan, incumbent Supervisor Dick Hummel was edged out of his seat by six votes, losing to Bill Endisch 421 to 415. Incumbent Wayne Polzin took the other open seat with 481 votes.
Challenger John Finley took incumbent city of Delavan District 1 Alderman Jay Adam’s seat by seven votes, 247-240.
Fontana had the closest election. Six contestants vied for three seats. Joseph Bidwell took the third spot by one vote over Thomas McGreevy, 240-239. Fifth-place finisher Irene M. Labonne was just three back of McGreevy, according to preliminary results.
Incumbents Ronald Pollitt and William Turner retained their seats with 315 and 296 votes, respectively.

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