Ankeny, Felten move on to Feb. 10 special election

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mike Ankeny and Ron Felten will be the two candidates moving on to the special election for the 5th District of the Mower County Board of Commissioners.

Ankeny received the most votes in Wednesday’s primary with 150, and Felten received the second most votes with 118.

“I’m glad to be moving on,” Ankeny said. “I’m certainly glad to be doing that. I guess we’ll see how things shake out with me and Ron.”

Like Ankeny, Felten said he was pleased with those who voted when the 5th District seat was the only item on the ballot.

“I’m excited about the results, Felten said.” “I appreciate the fact that that many people took time out of their day.”

Now that he’s moving on to the special election, Felten said he plans to increase his advertising with campaign signs and other materials. He said advertising will be important to get the word about the election, especially since it’s an off time for a race.

Ankeny has already advertised with campaign signs and advertisements in the newspaper.

Both Felten and Ankeny plan to attend a second candidate forum to be hosted by the Austin Area League of Women Voters on Feb. 2.

Mary Keenan came in third with 39 votes.

The 5th District has a population of about 7,600, and about 4,000 of the citizens are registered to vote. Of the 4,000 voters, only 382 votes — about 9 percent of the 4,000 registered voters in the 5th District — voted in the special primary.

Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh said closer to 70 percent of registered voters typically participate in a general election. However, only about 7 percent of registered voters turned out for a special primary for the 5th District — 340 people — on Feb. 27, 2001.

Both Felten and Ankeny said they appreciated the support from the voters, and they hoped the same people, and more, vote in the special election Feb. 10.

Ardie Ohman, head election judge at Austin High School, said the primary had one of the lowest turnouts of any election or primary she’d worked on. However, she said primaries typically have a low voter turnout.

The unique circumstances of the special primary may also contribute to the low turnout, she said. Unlike typical elections, this primary is being held on a Wednesday.

“It’s an unusual election,” Ohman said.

Ohman said the weather forecast, which called for freezing rain, may have kept voters from the polls.

Ohman and the other election judges at the high school had hoped for about 500 voters.

Special primary results

Austin High School Southgate Elementary School Total

Mike Ankeny 75 75 150

Ron Felten 53 65 118

Mary Keenan 21 18 39

Ralph Donkers 16 20 36

Marv Repinski 11 4 15

Derek Hyland 5 9 14

David Kolb 7 3 10