Janesville75.2°

Few seek Rock County Board positions

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Catherine W. Idzerda
January 10, 2012
— It's the numbers that make it so surprising.

In the election this coming April, 29 seats on the Rock County Board of Supervisors are up for grabs. Of those, only three are being contested, and one has no candidates at all.


Think about it this way: Almost 90 percent of the candidates running for county board face no opposition.


In a time general dissatisfaction with the political process and politicians themselves, supervisors seem to escape voter rancor—and officials aren't sure why.


Traditionally, board supervisors haven't faced much opposition, said Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said.


"There's just not a giant pool of county supervisors," she said.


Example No. 1: When Beloit-area Supervisor Anne Marie Johnson left in October, Rock County Board Chairman Russell Podzilni sent out a news release asking people from Johnson's district to submit letters of interest for the position.


Podzilni had to send out a second round of new releases after the first yielded no response.


Deloyde Sanders, 1400 Harvey Ave., Beloit, was eventually selected for the post.


Example No. 2: In Janesville's District 18, incumbent Ronald J. Combs submitted a declaration of non-candidacy in November. No one took out papers for his seat.


That means a write-in candidate could win. If no formal candidate comes forward, any individual could write in his or her own name. If it comes down to several people, all with one write-in vote, the clerk draws lots for the winner—it could be a coin toss or names in a hat.


Randy D. Terronez, assistant to the administrator, thinks the number of people running might simply be connected the issues on the table.


Terronez previously worked in Iowa County, west of Madison. At one point, the Iowa County Board was planning to build a new jail and criminal justice center. It was a controversial move that lead to significant turnover at election time.


The new board shelved the plan, but later decided to build a multi-million dollar health and human services building.


The result? More turmoil and change on the board.


Nicholas Osborne, assistant to the county administrator, said the number of contested races might simply mean people are happy with the representation they have. He also noted that school board and city council seats tend to have a higher profile than those on the county board.


Janesville City Council and Janesville School Board meetings also are broadcast live, and council meetings also are streamed live on the Internet.


Race information

In the April 3 election, three of the 29 seats on the Rock County Board are contested. They include:


-- District 9: Incumbent David Diestler, 5832 N. Glenmoor Lane Janesville, will face Dave Brown, 6313 N River Road, Janesville


-- District 24: Incumbent Richard Bostwick, 61 Harrison St., Janesville, faces Catherine Myers, 515 St. Lawrence Ave., Janesville.


-- District 25: Incumbent David N. Innis, 320 Park Ave., Janesville, faces Billybob Grahn, 152 S Locust, Janesville.


Two seats have no official candidates:


-- District 18. Incumbent Ronald J. Combs filed a declaration of non-candidacy in November and on one took out papers to fill the post.


-- District 23. Incumbent Jason Heidenreich, 4437 Rockingham Drive, Janesville, filed papers, but a handful of his signatures were just outside of his district boundaries. The county recently redistricted, redrawing the voting lines.


Rick Valdez, 1715 Park Ave., Beloit, had a similar experience. Valdez, a challenger in the District 13 race, filed papers but had a handful of signatures disqualified because they were out of his district.



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