Several local candidates running unopposed in 2016 general election

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Several candidates will run uncontested this election, which all but guarantees them victories in their respective races.

Voters might be tempted to write in Mickey Mouse or a real person in unopposed races. A state law passed several years ago does not allow those votes to be counted.

Registered write-ins, however, are counted, said Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson.

This year, two pairs of candidates have registered to run as write-ins for president and vice president, for example.

Anyone who qualifies to serve in an office has until the Friday before the election to register as a write-in.

A list of registered write-ins will be available on Election Day, but by law, that list is not posted; voters must ask a poll worker to see it, Tollefson said.

The law has two exceptions to the no-count rule: All write-ins are counted if no one is on the ballot or if a candidate on the ballot dies before Election Day, Tollefson said.

Tollefson is running uncontested for Rock County clerk. She ran against Sam Liebert in the primary. This will be her first full term, as she was sworn in July 1, 2015.

Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary, who has held the office since 1997, is running with no opposition for another four-year term. He faced no opposition in the primary election. O’Leary, who runs as a Democrat, has not faced opposition in the general election since 1998.

Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, is seeking a third term in the 44th Assembly District. She spent nine years on the Janesville School Board before taking state office and now sits on five legislative committees focusing on health, transportation and workforce development.

Rep. Mark Spreitzer is running for his second term as the representative of the 45th Assembly District. He ran unopposed in the primary. This term he is working on pollinator protection and reviewing the voter registration system.

Sandy Disrud is running uncontested for Rock County register of deeds. She won in the primary against Andy Jorgensen, the current 43rd Assembly District representative who decided to not seek reelection. This is her first term as register of deeds.

Zeke Wiedenfeld, who is running for Walworth County district attorney, has been an assistant district attorney, court commissioner and was recently appointed special prosecutor to lighten the office's workload after previous District Attorney Dan Necci resigned Oct. 2. Wiedenfeld beat Rock County Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan with 65 percent of the vote in the Republican primary election.

Kim Bushey is running uncontested for Walworth County clerk, a position she has been in since 1997. She plans on reviewing the county’s voting system and is considering implementing a new system.

Valerie Etzel is running uncontested for Walworth County treasurer. It will be her second term as treasurer. Etzel has worked for Walworth County for 20 years.

Donna Pruess is running uncontested for her second term as Walworth County register of deeds. Pruess has worked for Walworth County since 1980.

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