Brad Manke leads Mike Berry in divisive Stevens County sheriff’s race; Tveit wins new term as judge
A divisive race to replace retiring Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen was too close to call Tuesday evening, though early results showed one candidate leading the other by more than three percentage points.
The results showed Brad Manke leading Mike Berry with 51.6 percent of ballots cast.
Manke is the chief patrol deputy in the sheriff’s office. Berry is a former deputy who resigned from the department in July. The race had dredged up numerous allegations against each candidate, including Manke’s 13-year-old bankruptcy filings and internal investigations into Berry’s job performance.
In another race clouded by controversy, Stevens County District Court Judge Gina Tveit fended off a challenge from Lech Radzimski, the county’s chief criminal prosecutor.
Tveit, who won 61.1 percent of the vote, has been the subject of much criticism lately, in part because of a federal lawsuit that alleged she had retaliated against a victim of sexual harassment. Tveit was dismissed from the suit in October after she claimed judicial immunity.
Republican County Commissioner Don Dashiell also beat independent challenger Jeffery Charvet with 64 percent of the vote. Dashiell, along with the other two commissioners, recently attracted scrutiny because of a $30,000 payment made to a couple of homeowners after their house was damaged by flooding last spring. The money came from a special county fund dedicated to fighting homelessness.
County Coroner Lorrie Sampson, meanwhile, beat challenger Brent Hellie with 81.2 percent of the vote, and Treasurer Leslie Valz defeated fellow Republican Trina Cox with 61.1 percent of ballots cast.
One incumbent was unseated. Lori Larsen, a former chairwoman of the Stevens County GOP, defeated the longtime county auditor, Democrat Tim Gray, with 61.4 percent of ballots cast.
The longtime county prosecutor, Tim Rasmussen, and the county clerk, Julie James, were both re-elected after running unopposed.