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Stark County re-elects Republican leaders

Stark County voters filled Biesiot Activities Center late into the afternoon Tuesday. After eight hours, the site had received more than 1,600 ballots. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

The results are in!

Polls closed at 7 p.m. in Stark County Tuesday, with a total 12,313 reportedly voting.

District 37 voters re-elected Republican leaders to the North Dakota Senate and House of Representatives.

Two candidates ran for ND Senate: Republican incumbent Rich Wardner, and Democratic challenger R. Travis Brazelton.

Wardner received 5,200 votes and Brazelton received 1,182 votes.

Wardner said it "feels good" to be re-elected.

"Now we've got work to do, so we've got to go to work," he said. "Not that we haven't been working, but we've got a lot of things to do."

In addition to continuing work on a bill to adjust the distribution of oil production tax revenue to hub cities and the state, Wardner said he will focus on continuing support for Dickinson State University and tackling opioid addiction locally and across North Dakota.

"We've got get services out in Dickinson for that," he said. "Dealing with addiction issues is going to be one of the top things throughout the state."

Four candidates in District 37 ran for ND House of Representatives: incumbents Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner, both Republicans, and challengers Fern Pokorny and Keith Fernsler, both Democrats.

Lefor and Steiner received 4,762 and 4,562 votes, respectively; and Pokorny and Fernsler received 1,269 and 1,113 votes.

Lefor said he is "very grateful to the voters" to be elected to a third term.

"It feels good to have a vote of confidence from the voters, that the work you're doing on behalf of District 37 is satisfactory," he said. "That just inspires us to work even harder next session."

Lefor is grateful, too, that the group of Republican leaders was not broken up.

"There's always challenges, but Rep. Steiner and Sen. Wardner and I form a pretty good team. We work hard together," he said. "At the end of the day, I think the voters liked our solutions to a lot of the pressing issues and that's why we were able to come out on top tonight."

Steiner said it is exciting to be re-elected.

"I'm looking forward to getting started. I have some bills in the hopper and I want to get them finished," she said. "I'm sure the voters are ready for the campaigning to be done, so it's exciting to see their faith in us and I look forward to working for them."

Two candidates in Stark County ran for a seat on the Board of Commissioners: incumbent Russ Hoff and challenger Carla Arthaud.

Arthaud received 5,710 votes; and Hoff received 5,424 votes.

Arthaud, a first-time candidate, said she was "ecstatic" after being elected.

"I'm so appreciative to the Stark County residents and taxpayers," she said. "I promise that I will do everything I can for them."

There was one local measure on the 2018 ballot.

A new half-cent sales tax dedicated to public safety would have supplanted money being drawn from Dickinson's general fund.

The measure was defeated, though, receiving 6,603 against and 5,236 in favor.

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