by CHRIS ROGERS
There will be fresh faces in local public offices after Tuesday’s election. Three new members will join the Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Board: Nancy Denzer, Karl Sonneman, and Mike Hanratty. Incumbent Steve Schild won reelection, and the district’s $10-million debt referendum for school building improvements passed.
The race for the WAPS Board’s two at-large seats was a close contest. According to results that have yet to be certified, Nancy Denzer was the clear favorite, taking 8,427 votes, but incumbent Ben Baratto, challenger Jim Schul, and the second apparent winner, Sonneman, were separated by less than two percentage points. Sonneman won with 5,287 votes (22.09 percent) to Baratto’s 5,076 votes (21.20 percent) — a 211-vote lead. Schul was right behind Baratto with 4,973 votes (20.77 percent).
In WAPS’ district one, Schild defeated challenger Ted Hazelton by a healthy margin: 1,661 votes to 1,198.
In an open race to replace Karen Coleman, who resigned, Hanratty beat Gerald Portman 1,055 votes to 827.
WAPS’ referendum passed 8,588 “yes” votes to 6,746 “no” votes.
Moeller beats Krage in Winona City Council race
Newcomer Eileen Moeller beat incumbent Gerry Krage in a race to represent west-central Winona on the Winona City Council, while unopposed incumbents Michelle Alexander and George Borzyskowski won reelection. Moeller won by a significant spread: 1,268 votes (60 percent) to 845 votes (40 percent).
Meyer wins; Kovecsi reelected on Winona County Board
On the Winona County Board, incumbent Marie Kovecsi defeated challenger Mike Charron, and Chris Meyer outstripped Paul Double in an open race to replace retiring commissioner Jim Pomeroy. Incumbent Marcia Ward held on to her seat, defeating Lewiston’s Bryce Lange.
Kovecsi and Charron had the closest race of the three, though Kovecsi still won by 14 points with 2,239 votes to Charron’s 1,665. Meyer posted 2,521 votes, more than double Double’s 1,210. Ward topped Lange by a similarly large margin: 2,764 votes to 1,313.
Semingson, Sacia win in Trempealeau County
Trempealeau County’s next sheriff will be Brett Semingson after he defeated Kevin Deeren 6,732 to 5,479 in an open race. John Sacia won the election for district attorney against Rick Niemeier, 6,375 to 5,663.
Buffalo County, Fountain City vote ‘yes’
In a non-binding Buffalo county advisory referendum that asked voters wether they support borrowing $4 million for road repair, “yes” voters carried the day: 4,129 to 1,777. The “yes” vote also won in Fountain City, where the city was holding a binding referendum on whether to borrow $225,000 to help fund a new fire station and fire truck. That referendum passed 269 to 96.
Hagedorn beats Feehan; other Dems win
Republican Jim Hagedorn will represent southern Minnesota in the U.S. House after narrowly defeating Democrat Dan Feehan by just 1,311 votes, less than one percent of the vote.
Republican Minnesota House of Representatives member Steve Drazkowski won re-election handily, as did uncontested Democratic Representative Gene Pelowski. Democrat Tim Walz won the Minnesota governorship, Democratic U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was reelected, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith won her first election after being appointed my Governor Mark Dayton.