Fielders wins race for sheriff
November 3, 2022
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A record number of ballots were cast in Sanders County this week for the 2022 General Election. Voters cast ballots for multiple local and state positions and issues.
As of Tuesday at 5 p.m., there were more than 10,050 registered voters in the county, with several people lined up outside the county elections office still registering to vote.
Sanders County Clerk & Recorder Nichol Scribner said late Tuesday that the number of absentee ballots alone in this year's election was more than any other previous election had with combined absentee and polling place ballots.
Sanders County voters cast ballots for several elected positions, including two county commissioners. Current Plains Mayor Dan Rowan won the commissioner seat in District 1, defeating Adam Bache, while in District 2, John Holland defeated Mahlon Lee. Rowan received 3,659 votes to Bache's 2,487, while Holland received 3,338 votes and Lee 2,809.
Sanders County will also have a new sheriff when they are sworn in next January, with Shawn Fielders beating Roy Scott by more than 1,200 votes. Fielders received 3,614 votes, while Scott received 2,367. The sheriff's race included 385 ballots cast for write-in candidates, however, specific results for write-in candidates will not be released until Monday afternoon after the provisional ballots have been tabulated. Fielders had lost to Scott in the June primary by more a mere 172 votes.
Sanders County Clerk and Recorder / Treasurer / Superintendent of Schools Nichol Scribner won another term on Tuesday. She received 4,569 votes, while challenger Kathleen French received 1,602.
More than 6,600 ballots were cast in Tuesday's election in Sanders County, with more than 5,300 of those from absentee voters.
Local voters also decided on the race for County Attorney / Public Administrator. Incumbent Naomi Leisz received 3,559 votes, while write-in candidate Cheryl Copperstone received 1,965.
In the race for Justice of the Peace, Carl Marquardt ran against incumbent Doug Dryden, who won with 4,430 votes to Marquardt's 1,500.
Sanders County Coroner Pat Barber was re-elected this week, receiving 4,238 votes. Martin Spring received 1,594 votes, though he announced last month, after ballots were printed, that he was withdrawing from the race.
Two state representatives were up for election this year. Denley Loge ran unopposed in District 14, receiving 1,991 votes in Sanders County. In House District 13, incumbent Paul Fielder won with 2,972 votes, while Democrat Colleen Hinds received 1,015.
Sanders County voters also decided on whether or not to collect a tax on medical and recreational marijuana sales. The matters were separate on the ballot, with voters deciding to tax recreational marijuana sales by a margin of 4,596 votes to 1,840 against the tax. The measure to tax medical marijuana sales in Sanders County failed by just two votes, with 3,207 voting against and 3,205 voting against. Results of that initiative could change when provisional ballots are counted on Monday.
One of the closest races this week was for Green Mountain Conservation District, for which voters chose three representatives to fulfill four-year terms. Bill Naegeli, Nancy Mehaffie and Mary Reed won the election to serve on that board. Green Mountain voters also chose Kristen Wing to fill a two-year term.
The provisional ballots will not be counted until Monday at 3 pm. "So if it's a close race," Scribner said, "we may not know the winner until after provisionals are counted."
Scribner added that it's important for people to remember that results from Tuesday's election are not considered official until after the canvass of the election.