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Candidate conundrum: Paplow, Widboom tiebreaker set for Friday

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WORTHINGTON -- With all eight precincts in Nobles County Commissioner District 3 reporting in Tuesday's Primary election, incumbent David Benson will advance to the general election in November.

Who will join him in that race, however, is still uncertain.

Challengers Robert Paplow and Matthew Widboom each garnered 100 votes Tuesday, resulting in a tie. Since counties must narrow the field down to two candidates before the general election, Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster reported late Tuesday night that the Canvassing Board will break the tie in a 10 a.m. meeting Friday.

"The law says that in the case of a tie, the Canvassing Board responsible for declaring the results for that office shall determine the tie by lot," Balster said. What that means, she explained, is the tie could be broken by picking a name out of a hat or drawing a high card.

Balster needs to clarify with the Minnesota Secre-tary of State's office this morning the exact process for breaking the tie, but she said both candidates -- as well as anyone from the public -- is welcome to attend Friday's meeting.

Canvassing board mem-bers included appointed commissioners Vern Leisti-co and Diane Thier, both of whom chose not to seek re-election to their board seats, as well as regional court administrator Steve Schultz (he will likely designate Melissa Burns to attend in his place), the mayor of the most populous city in the county (Alan Oberloh of Worthington) and Balster. They will meet in the train-ing room in the Nobles County Government Center, located on the second floor, next door to Human Services.

"There's not an automatic recount for the losing candidate ... there is no losing candidate," Balster said.

In Balster's years in the auditor-treasurer's office, she only recalls breaking a tie one other time.

"I remember flipping coins for a mayor race in Brewster one time, but that was about 30 years ago," she said. "It doesn't happen a lot."

In Commissioner District 5, located solely within Worthington's city limits, former Worthington Police Chief Donald Linssen led with 123 votes, followed by Marlyn Mammen with 79 votes and Jacob Holck with 12 votes. Linssen and Mammen will advance to the general election Nov. 6.

With four candidates vying for the District 2 seat being vacated by Commissioner Diane Thier, Gene Metz led the race with 292 votes, followed by Bruce Loosbrock with 170 votes. Both will advance to the general election. Others in the contest were Vicky Ross, getting 29 votes and Les Madison, with 34 votes.

Just 18 percent of eligible voters countywide cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary, which is a bit higher than usual for a primary, said Balster. Typically, a primary draws 10 to 15 percent of eligible voters to the polls in Nobles County.

Voting went smoothly at all polling places, Balster reported. She was disap-pointed that they weren't able to post results to the county's website throughout the night, however.

"It wouldn't work," she said, adding that they had conducted multiple tests on the site prior to Tuesday. "We didn't want to put the wrong numbers out, so we just quit. We'll try to get the final results out there."

Results are unofficial until accepted by the canvassing board.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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