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Reichert, Knapper and Harris elected to county board

May 16, 2018 GMT

GERING — Only 4,401 of Scotts Bluff County’s 24,009 registered voters turned out to vote in the May 15 primary election, which Election Commissioner Vera Dulaney referred to as “poor.”

But even primaries can cause some tight races, and that’s what happened Tuesday night. Here are the final results for the Scotts Bluff County Commissioner races, although the numbers could change due to the number of provisional ballots that still have to be counted, plus any potential recounts (for complete results of all the races see 5A).

County Board of Commissioners had contested races in Districts I, III and V. And the county board will have two new members next year.

Mark Reichert, the District I Republican incumbent, won his re-election bid by only five votes, 218-213 over Mick Lookabill, the closest of three challengers.

“Most of the issues facing the county are ongoing,” Reichert said. “We try to put as much funding as we can toward roads. We’re moving twice the tonnage of crops as we did 50 years ago on the roads.”

Another issue Reichert identified is the county detention facility and how they handle inmates at a time when the crime rate has been increasing.

In District III, two-term incumbent Sherry Blaha was defeated by Republican political newcomer Charlie Knapper by a 379-162 vote.

“We worked hard and did a lot of door-to-door campaigning,” Knapper said. “Fundraising was easy because people believed in me and my ideas.”

Knapper also made extensive use of social media.

“I think the people of the county like the idea of a young Republican in office,” he said. “One of the big issues the board will face is the status of juveniles at the detention center. They have a better chance of rehabilitation when they’re at home with the families rather than somewhere else.”

He said the area has a fiber optic infrastructure that’s second to none in the country. He said the area needs to be recruiting 21st century industry for economic development, which would help with property tax relief.

Knapper also thanked all his supporters and especially his wife, Kerry, who made the win possible.

In District V, long-time incumbent Commission Chairman Mark Masterton was defeated 362-174 by former Scottsbluff Mayor Mark Harris.

“The people I’ve talked with have always been positive,” Harris said. “Issues about taxes and the recent commissioner pay raise have been on a lot of the people’s minds.”