Voters set stage

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Mower County Attorney Patrick A. Oman withstood a blitz of pro-Patrick W. Flanagan campaigning to earn a spot Tuesday on the November general election ballot.

However, he was not the top vote-getter in his race. Flanagan, the newest Assistant Mower County Attorney, was.

"The results are what we expected," Oman said. "We knew it would be close."

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While local law enforcement agencies and officers have promoted Flanagan as their candidate for Mower County Attorney, Oman says there is more to the job than prosecuting criminals.

"That's very important and that's the so-called 'glory' part of the job, but we also do a wide, wide range of things such as

planning and zoning issues and things like that," Oman said. "That's a big chunk of what we do and you have to have the experience and skills to do those things."

The morning after Tuesday's primary, it was business as usual in the Mower County Attorney's office.

"We still have our stuff to do. We all three came to work today and went to work as usual," Oman said.

Flanagan sent his "boss" an e-mail this morning, congratulating Oman on winning a place on the general election ballot. Oman e-mailed Flanagan back with his congratulations.

Jonathan Olson visited both Oman and Flanagan with his congratulations.

"I want people to know that I'm not just some guy after his boss' job," Flanagan said.

The candidate said he was "pleasantly surprised" with Tuesday's results. "We worked pretty hard, but we know we have a lot of work to do," Flanagan admitted.

Flanagan, a single parent, said he devoted much of the summer months to being with his son. Now, he said he must devote attention to the areas of Mower County, where he is less well-known than the incumbent.

Olson, the Assistant Mower County Attorney, who finished third in the primary, said he was "disappointed" with the outcome.

However, Olson said he was buoyed by his vote total. "We are very happy with the support we received and it was a great race."

Olson, a husband and father of two young children, said it was a "hard decision" to make to enter the race and he did it late, filing after Oman and Flanagan threw their hats into the ring.

However, he also said his appetite for politics has been whetted by his debut. "Yes, actually it was," he said. "I enjoyed the election process thoroughly."

Terese Amazi admits the gender issue has come up "a couple of times."

Each time, it was a one-on-one instance, when the candidate was door-knocking and she has "dealt with it."

It apparently didn't come up with voters Tuesday, when Amazi soared to the top vote total in the primary.

"I'm very pleased with the results, but I have to admit I am somewhat surprised by the margin most of all," she said.

Amazi said she does not plan to deviate from her campaign strategy in the march to the November general election. "I will continue to do door-knocking and talking about the issues," she said.

A 14-year veteran in the Mower County Sheriff's Department, Amazi said one of the keys to her Tuesday victory was "recognition."

"They know me," she said. "I've spoken to kids and their parents at schools and other meetings. I've talked to other groups at every opportunity."

But, the chief deputy said she has also "done the work."

"I've served search warrants and done other things as needed to maintain an active role in law enforcement," she said.

Attempts to reach Todd A. Clennon, who also advanced in Tuesday's primary, and Michael Cherney were unsuccessful.

Also unsuccessful were attempts to reach 4th District Mower County Commissioner candidates Dick Lang and Len Miller, both winners in Tuesday's primary.

Donna J. Olson finished third in the 4th District race and she was disappointed by problems she encountered with political advertising.

However, Olson said she was "very pleased with the voter turnout" she attracted.

The overall low turnout in the 4th District was another disappointment . "Primaries or special elections never seem to attract the number of voters they should," she said.

Is Tuesday's defeat enough to close the door on future political ambitious? "The door is never closed," Olson said. "It's just a matter of what to do and when to do it."

Until the next election foray, Olson said her work, family and civic endeavors are enough. "I'm planning to do more volunteer work with KSMQ, I belong to the Kiwanis club, I've got my job. I'm busy, busy, busy," she said.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at