Local Races Run Late
Many of North Dakota's key races Tuesday left election judges working until the wee hours of the morning, and Barnes County was no exception.
In a close race for the District 24 state house seats, it took until nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday for officials to declare winners in the race, and even then results were razor thin.
In the end, it was Rep. Dwight Kiefert and D-NPL candidate Naomi Muscha who appeared to have won the two seats.
Kiefert finished with 3,252 votes, 26.09 percent of the votes in the district, and Muscha had 3,254 votes, beating out Sharon Buhr with 3,197 and Myrene Peterson with 2,726.
Kiefert won Barnes County with 2,393 votes, followed by Buhr with 2,514 votes, Muscha with 2,393 and Peterson with 2,144.
Other races weren't as close.
Incumbent Sen. Larry Robinson took an early lead in the state senate vote against challenger Keith Hovland and held on to win by a margin of 3,824-3,015. The overall results weren't far from the 3,031-2,403 margin within Barnes County.
Hovland conceded the election to Robinson late Tuesday evening, addressing fellow Republicans who were gathered in downtown Valley City.
Robinson, who has been represented District 24 consistently since 1988, gave credit to his opponent.
"We knew it would be a tough race," he said. "Anytime you have two open seats, we knew that we had new challenges, and that's part of the election process. We had six folks out there working hard campaigning since last spring."
He expressed interest in continuing what has worked for him as a legislator so far.
"My intentions (for District 24) are to continue to do what we've done in terms of accessibility, in terms of outreach," Robinson said. "I've said in my campaign and will continue to do this, I've done this for 20-some years, we will do legislative reports on a regular basis — I certainly will."
Hovland was proud despite the loss.
"I think we put it all in there," he said. "Our lack of success didn't have anything to do with a lack of effort."
In other local races, Brad Cruff beat Richard Grosz 21,097-12,409 in the the Judicial District 8 judge race. Cruff received 4056 votes from Barnes County, with Gross getting 1022.
County Commissioners Cindy Schwehr and John Froehlich each ran opposed, and got 1,096 and 914 votes, respectively. Barnes County Measure 1, the Bridge Bond, passed 3,844 to 1,183.
In the presidential election, Barnes County favored Rep. Mitt Romney with 2,389 votes over President Barack Obama, who received 2,389 votes. Romney won the North Dakota electoral votes, winning the state by 187,586 to 124, 490.
In state-wide votes, Barnes County had 2,695 votes for Kevin Cramer over 2,605 votes for Pam Gulleson in the state congressional race. Cramer won the state vote by a large margin.
Heidi Heitkamp won Barnes County 3,175 to 2,318 over Rick Berg in the U.S. Senate race, which, statewide, was too close to call as of press time.
The county also favored incumbent Gov. Jack Dalyrmple (3137 votes) over Ryan Taylor (2234.)
In statewide measures, Barnes County voted yes on measure 4, which bans smoking in indoor workplaces across the state. The measure passed statewide, and passed 3,457-1,889 in the county. Measure 5, related to animal cruelty, was voted down in the state and 3,874-1,542 in Barnes County.