Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County ballots set for April 7 election

Ballots are set for the spring election in Iron County after Tuesday’s filing deadline. Besides the county board of supervisors, there are also elections on April 7 for mayor and city council seats in Hurley and Montreal, the Mercer town board and the Hurley and Mercer school boards.

The April 7 ballot will also include voting in Wisconsin’s presidential primary.

While most members of the county board are running unopposed for reelection, there will be a few new people on the board. In District 1 (Hurley) newcomer Kathleen Byrns is running unopposed to fill a seat being vacated by Jay Aijala. In District 15 (Sherman) Anne McComas is running to fill a seat that is open after the death of supervisor Brad Matson last year.

Also, in District 14 (Mercer) incumbent Jim Kichak is facing opposition from Tanner Hiller.

The other 12 districts will see no change in representation, including District 2 (Hurley) Joe Pinardi, D3 (Hurley) Jamey Francis, D4 (Hurley) Larry Youngs, D5 (Gile) Bill Thomas, D6 (Montreal) Ken Saari, D7 (Kimball) Brandon Snyder, D8 (Saxon-Gurney) Karl Krall, D9 (Anderson-Knight-Pence) Pat Hanson, D10 (Oma-Carey) Scott Erickson, D11 (Mercer) John Sendra, D12 (Mercer) Opal Roberts, and D13 (Mercer) Tom Thompson Jr.


Hurley will have a new mayor as incumbent Paul Mullard is not seeking reelection. Councilman Jay Aijala and Thomas Conhartoski are on the ballot for a two-year term as mayor.

Conhartoski, a newcomer, is also on the ballot for city council with six others, including incumbents Joanne Bruneau, Jamey Francis, Stephanie Innes-Smith, Robert Lanctoe and Steven Lombardo, as well as newcomer Colleen Sachs. The top six vote getters will earn two-year terms.

For Hurley School Board, there are four people running for two seats, including incumbent Maria Sokol, as well as newcomers Neil Klemme, Kathy Levra and Kathy Saari. The winners will earn three-year terms. The other incumbent, Darryl Mattson, is not running for reelection.

In Montreal, Mayor Erik Guenard is running unopposed for another three-year term. There are also two seats open on the city council for three-year terms. In Ward 1, newcomer Ken Saari is running unopposed for a council seat held by Wayne Bergland, who chose not to run again; and in Ward 2, incumbent Bill Thomas is also running unopposed.

Five people are running for three openings on the Mercer School Board. On the ballot are incumbents Sue Loth and Jeff Nehring, as well as Brian Baltz, Henry Joustra and Deanna Pierpont.

There are two three-year terms, and one one-year term available, according to Mercer’s interim school administrator Sheri Kopka. “The top three vote-getters will receive the seats with the third-place person receiving the one-year term and the top two vote-getters receiving the three-year terms.”

For the Mercer town board of supervisors, incumbent Mike Lambert and Jeff Stenberg are running for the two available two-year terms. Supervisor Chuck Schroepfer is not running.

Recently appointed Iron County Judge Tony Stella is running unopposed for election on the April 7 ballot. He was appointed to the bench after the death of Judge Patrick Madden.

Feb. 18 primary

Iron County Clerk Mike Saari said there was no need for any of the above races to have a primary, but there will still be primary voting on Feb. 18, as there are four people running to fill former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s northern Wisconsin congressional seat, as well as three people running for a spot on the state Supreme Court.

At the Feb. 18 primary for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, voters will either choose between Republicans Tom Tiffany and Jason Church, or Democrats Lawrence Dale and Tricia Zunker.

Tiffany, from Hazelhurst, was elected to the state Senate 2012 after serving in the state Assembly for two years. Church is a retired Army captain who lost his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan. He later served as an aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. Dale is a Vietnam war veteran and insurance salesman living in Eagle River. Zunker has served on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court since 2013 and is president of the Wausau School Board.

The Republican and Democrat winners of the primary will face off in a special congressional election on May 12 to fill Duffy’s seat. Duffy asked for prayers as he resigned his seat in 2019 when he and his wife learned of problems with her pregnancy. According to reports, the child was later born with a heart defect and Down syndrome.

The top two vote getters in the Wisconsin state Supreme Court primary on Feb. 18 will face off in the April 7 election for a 10-year term.

On the ballot are incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly, Marquette University Law professor Ed Fallone and Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky.

Although the office is non-partisan, the court currently has a 5-2 conservative majority. Kelly, an appointee of then Gov. Scott Walker, is supported by conservatives. Liberals have endorsed Fallone and Karofsky.

In Michigan

Gogebic County Clerk Gerry Pelissero said Michigan’s presidential primary will be March 10.

The local ballot that day will also include a question asking for reapproval of the 911 surcharge, that was first approved eight years ago and reapproved four years ago, according to Pelissero.