Primary scheduled for city, school district races

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point will hold a primary election for the 9th District race in February.

Three candidates have filed nomination paperwork for the race, with Polly Dalton and Brian Beaulieu challenging incumbent Mary McComb. The city doesn’t have an ordinance triggering a primary election for a three-way race, Mayor Mike Wiza said, meaning the council had to pass a resolution authorizing the primary if it wanted one.

Approving the primary was quickly moved by Alderman Mike Phillips, then seconded by Councilwoman Cindy Nebel. But before a vote could occur, Councilwoman Cathy Dugan said the council should consider the implications from the candidate’s perspective, adding it was very much like “running two campaigns”.

“Okay, we shouldn’t be talking about it from a candidate’s perspective,” Wiza said, who later said it “shouldn’t even be a consideration” in determining whether to hold a primary.

“I know, but that is another way to look at it,” Dugan replied.

Alderman Jeremy Slowsinski favored the primary, saying a three-way vote in April could result in a winner who wasn’t elected by a majority.

“I think it’s only fair to the constituency that the next candidate is voted in by a majority,” Slowinski said. ‘Not by, potentially, 34 percent.”

As Wiza was calling for a vote on the issue, Councilwoman Tori Jennings asked for input from McComb, saying the conversation about having a primary was being “rushed”.

McComb said holding a primary would place additional stressors on all three candidates, but declined to comment further.

Councilmembers Slowinski (District 6), Phillips (District 10) Meleesa Johnson (District 5), Dugan (District 8), and Mary Kneebone (District 7), all voted in favor of the primary, with Kneebone saying, “This is such a hard decision,” prior to casting her vote.

Voting against the primary were Councilwomen Jennings (District 1), Cindy Nebel (District 3), and Alderman David Shorr (District 2).

Councilmembers Heidi Oberstadt (District 4) and Shaun Morrow (District 11) were absent, and McComb abstained from voting.

Dalton and Beaulieu did not attend the last-minute meeting, though Beaulieu sent a written apology for his absence to be read into the record.

Holding the primary typically costs the city about $1,500 for each district, City Clerk Paul Piotrowski said, though he expects about half of that cost to be covered by the Stevens Point Area Public School District, which has already announced it will hold a primary on Feb. 19.

Seven people are running for three seats on the Stevens Point School Board. Candidates Barb Portzen (I), Jeff Ebel (I), Ann Vang, Ed Morganroth, Jodi Rentfrow, Gee Pope, and Kurt Pulvermacher all returned candidacy paperwork with the district by the Jan. 2 filing deadline.

Village trustees in Plover on Thursday decided to not hold a primary election. The village has four candidates for Ward 2.