Elected officials prepare for duty
November 17, 2022
Sanders County voters turned out for the 2022 General Election last week, selecting multiple elected officials for the county. Of the 10,064 registered voters in Sanders County, 6,719 voted in last week’s election, nearly 67%.
Provisional ballots were counted on Monday afternoon at the courthouse. None of the outcomes from Tuesday’s races changed with the additional 79 provisional ballots that were counted Monday..
Shawn Fielders won the race for Sanders County Sheriff and will take over in January for Tom Rummel, who did not run for re-election. Fielders received 3,658 votes while candidate Roy Scott received 2,387. This week, Fielders told The Ledger that he is ready to get to work.
“I’m looking forward to starting work,” Fielders said. “I think we’ve got a good group of people to work with and I’m ready to get my plan in line.” He added that he is looking to hit the ground running when he is sworn in and hopes to have policies and procedures in place shortly after. “I’m looking forward to moving the sheriff’s office in a forward direction. It’s been disheartening to listen to all the negativity in this campaign. I just want to move in a positive direction where the deputies are happy and proud to do their job and to serve the community,” Fielders stated.
Fielders has chosen to promote Jerry Johnson to Undersheriff. Johnson has been with the Sanders County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade.
The newly elected sheriff said he will focus on the narcotics problem in the county. “We’ll start addressing this issue. The theft problem comes hand in hand with that. We’ll put in place a plan,” Fielders said. He added that he hopes the department will have more interaction with the public. “I’m anxious to get going and take it to the next level.”
Two commissioner positions were up for election in Sanders County. Current Plains Mayor Dan Rowan won the race in District 1, garnering 3,695 votes, while Adam Bache received 2,518. Rowan will fill the remaining two years of the term vacated by Carol Brooker, who resigned last December after more than 30 years as a commissioner. The remaining commissioners, Tony Cox and Glen Magera, appointed Claude Burlingame to Brooker’s open seat earlier this year. Burlingame will serve in the position until Rowan is sworn in.
“I am looking forward to my first day in office,” Rowan stated. “After getting sworn in and meeting all the new faces, I can finally get together with my fellow commissioners as we work collectively to address the needs of the community.”
Also winning a county commissioner seat was John Holland of Plains, who won in District 2. Holland received 3,383 votes, while Mahlon Lee of Hot Springs received 2,834. “I’m looking forward to getting out in the district, talking to people and finding out the needs of the county,” Holland said after the election. Holland will fill the position of Glen Magera, who decided not to pursue another term.
Four Sanders County officials won another term in last week’s election. Sanders County Clerk and Recorder / Treasurer / Superintendent of Schools Nichol Scribner received 4,611 votes, while challenger Kathleen French received 1,631. Sanders County Attorney / Public Administrator Naomi Leisz also won re-election last week. Leisz received 3,601 votes. Though she was running unopposed, former deputy county attorney Cheryl Copperstone filed as a write-in candidate, receiving 1,973 votes. Sanders County Coroner Pat Barber was also re-elected, receiving 4,282 votes. Martin Spring received 1,610 votes, though he announced last month, after ballots were printed, that he was withdrawing from the race. In the race for Justice of the Peace, Carl Marquardt ran against incumbent Doug Dryden, who won with 4,478 votes to Marquardt's 1,514.
The two state representatives for Sanders County won re-election last week. In House District 14, Republican Denley Loge ran unopposed. He received 2,030 votes in Sanders County and 2,126 in Mineral County. In House District 13, incumbent Paul Fielder won with 2,996 votes, while Democrat Colleen Hinds received 1,019.
Sanders County voters cast ballots on two marijuana sales issues, including whether to tax recreational marijuana sales and medical marijuana sales. Voters passed the 3% recreational marijuana sales tax by a margin of 4,643 votes to 1,868 against the tax. The medical marijuana sales tax failed with 3,237 votes for and 3,250 against. That was the closest outcome of any of the local election results.
One of the closest races last 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.