Park Falls holds first mayoral primary election in 12 yearsSubmitted: 02/19/2019
Dakota Sherek
Dakota Sherek
Senior Reporter / Anchor

Park Falls holds first mayoral primary election in 12 years
PARK FALLS - There was only one race to vote on in Park Falls' Spring Primary Election Tuesday. But Deputy Clerk Michelle Smith says for the city, it was a unique one.

"The last time we had a mayoral primary was actually in 2007," said Smith. 

This year the candidates running to become Park Falls next mayor include incumbent Daniel Leitl, former city council member Beth Roberts, and current city council member Michael Bablick.

"It's good to see three names on the ballot," said voter Joel Karnick.

"I think each one brings something special to the table," said Susan Schmidt, another Park Falls voter. 

For most voters, having a choice at all, let alone a primary, is a great opportunity. Former mayor, Thomas Ratzlaff, ran uncontested for a decade.

"I think it's just nice that we have people that are taking the initiative to want to be mayor and give people some choices," said Karnick. "I think it's really important than just have it kind of be a default that goes to a person that runs solo." 

"Now you've got more people that are actually taking an active interest in the government which is wonderful," said Smith. 

Despite a boost in the number of candidates running, the same can't be said for getting voters to cast a ballot. There was only a sporadic showing of voters early in the day.

"It's tough when it's in February and it's the only thing people are voting for and some people forget," said Karnick. 

"I was a little surprised," said Schmidt. "I'm going to remind people, come and vote!"

Smith says more than a thousand people are registered to vote within the city of Park Falls, and she's hopeful more of them make their voices heard before the end of the day.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get some bigger numbers because I think we're just getting over the 100 mark right now," said Smith. "But hopefully people will come out because this is a very important race."

As long as voters are in line with an ID by 8 p.m. they will be able to cast their vote. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, only 188 people cast a vote.

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