Few competitive races for Sauk County Board

Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Guy Reynolds administers the oath of office to members of the Sauk County Board of Supervisors in this 2014 file photo. The deadline to file papers for the next election is Jan. 2

With 19 days remaining for spring election candidates to file papers, many Sauk County Board seats remain noncompetitive.

As of Wednesday, competition was apparent in only seven of the county’s 31 supervisory districts, all of which are up for grabs April 3. Nomination papers are due Jan. 2.

Twenty county board incumbents have announced they will seek re-election, six have dropped out, and five have not yet stated their intentions.

Two incumbents who hold prominent positions and tend to vote with the board’s majority will face challengers.

In the 23rd District, a current Spring Green town official filed papers this week to challenge incumbent county board Supervisor Dennis Polivka of Spring Green.

“Basically, I was waiting to see if anyone would run against him,” Spring Green Town Board Chairman Kevin Lins said. “Last time, he ran unopposed.”

This is not the first time the two men have faced off in a local race. Lins became town chairman by defeating Polivka — who previously held that position — in the 2015 spring election.

Polivka, a one-time Republican candidate for Wisconsin Assembly, serves on the county board’s powerful Executive and Legislative Committee, which oversees high-ranking officials, evaluates board rules and conducts intergovernmental affairs.

He also serves on the Economic Development Committee; chairs the Conservation, Planning and Zoning Committee; and serves on a panel that oversees the county nursing home in Reedsburg.

In District 31, a resident who served on the county board more than a decade ago is hoping to regain a seat by defeating a longtime incumbent.

“I don’t have any axes to grind,” said Valerie McAuliffe of Prairie du Sac, who left county politics in 2004. “It’s just important these days for us to be paying more attention to government at all levels.”

McAuliffe will challenge incumbent Supervisor Henry Netzinger, also of Prairie du Sac, who sits on a committee that oversees county personnel matters and another that has oversight over the highway and parks departments.

Netzinger also chairs the nursing home panel and serves on the board of adjustment, which makes rulings on special zoning cases.

In District 20, Tim McCumber and Matthew Joyce both are vying to replace outgoing Merrimac-area Supervisor Judy Ashford.

McCumber, an active Republican, is the Merrimac town administrator and was a conservative columnist for the Baraboo News Republic until earlier this month.

He penned his last opinion piece days after he entered the fray for county board.

Primary likely

At least one of the seven competitive races is likely to require a primary.

Incumbent District 27 Supervisor Andy Andrews of Baraboo will defend his seat against two challengers.

Andrews, 19, was elected to his first term in 2016 as a senior at Baraboo High School, and is the board’s youngest member.

He is being challenged by the person he defeated last time, Scott Alexander of Baraboo, who previously represented the district. Carl Gruber of Baraboo, the county’s former safety and risk manager, also has declared his candidacy.

A primary runoff in that district Feb. 20 would narrow the field to two candidates prior to the April election.

Among the five incumbents who have not yet declared their intentions is District 10 Supervisor Marty Krueger of Reedsburg, who has chaired the board since 2006. He did not return a phone call or email Wednesday.

Currently, no one else has declared candidacy in Krueger’s district.

Follow Tim Damos on Twitter @timdamos

Reporter for the Baraboo News Republic.