Running unopposed

Published 7:16 am Thursday, July 22, 2010

As political races heat up, Commissioner Mike Ankeny is missing one part of the campaign: an opponent.

Since no one else filed in District 5, Ankeny was spared his second campaign this year. Ankeny won the seat in a special election after the death of Commissioner Dave Tollefson. Winning the seat was no easy task, as Ankeny faced six other candidates in the special primary and then beat Ron Felten in the special election by less than 20 votes in February.

After such a close election, Ankeny said he expected someone — possibly Felten — to challenge his bid for re-election.

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“I was kind of surprised that no one did run against me,” he said.

Since it’s still early in the election season leading up to the Aug. 10 primaries, Ankeny said he’s done little campaigning so far.

“I don’t know if I really need to do that much campaigning,” Ankeny said.

Ankeny said he plans to put a few signs out and do some light campaigning closer to the November elections. He has signs left over from the special election.

Ankeny said he always planned to run again after the special election.

Not organizing a campaign will leave more time for Ankeny to keep his focus on the issues facing the county, not that he wouldn’t if he was campaigning.

“I would still give a hundred percent to what’s going on. That’s the focus,” he said.

Ankeny isn’t the only candidate running unopposed in the county. Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh and County Attorney Kristen Nelsen are both running unopposed. Groh previously said that candidates running unopposed isn’t uncommon.

Nelsen said she plans to skip major campaigning to focus on her duties, but she hopes to be included in any candidate debates.

Commissioner Dave Hillier, who is facing stiff competition in this year’s campaign to be re-elected in District 3, ran unopposed in 2002.

While he said he didn’t campaign as hard when unopposed, he still did some door knocking and other things. He said it was important to let people know that he wanted to keep the job.

“When you’re unopposed, you still try to maintain contact,” Hillier said.

Hillier was initially unopposed again after the filing period ended for the 2006 election, but a write-in candidate later started campaigning.

Sheriff Terese Amazi, who is running for re-election against Sgt. Jeff Ellis, ran unopposed four years ago. She said it’s nice when the filing period ends with your name alone on the ballot. But, she said the campaigning continues, just on a much smaller scale.

“The campaigning never quits,” Amazi said. “You still go to small town festivals.”

Despite not having a candidate, Amazi still put out signs, though far fewer than in other campaigns. Even with the odds heavily in the favor of an unopposed candidate over potential write-in candidates, Amazi said it’s still an honor to be elected.

“You never take anything for granted,” Amazi said.