Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Two newcomers win seats

by Chris Schultz

April 05, 2012

One race may be too close to call right now, and one alderwoman who lost election for the Fourth District, will remain on the City Council for at least another year representing the Third District.

The tightest race was in the Third District.

There, incumbent William Mott was leading challenger Dick Peterson by just 12 votes in the unofficial final returns, 158-146.

That narrow gap is significant because 24 uncounted ballots are still out there, and they have until Friday to reach the city clerk's office to be counted, said City Clerk Mike Hawes. Those 24 absentee ballots are leaving Mott cautious about claiming victory.

On the other hand, he does acknowledge that for now, he has the upper hand.

"If I win it's certainly a victory for the voters in the Third District," he said. Mott said he hopes the next two years will see more civility on the City Council.

"We need to work out some issues and agree to disagree at times," he said.

Despite the narrow margin, Peterson, a former alderman, seemed ready to concede the close race.

"I did what I could do," Peterson said, sitting in the Harborside Café with friends and supporters. "There's 146 people who voted for me, and I'm grateful for that."

Peterson said he didn't believe that any of those who mailed in absentee ballots would vote for him.

"Those who were going to vote for me have already voted," he said.

Peterson, who grew up on Rogers Street near Water Street in the old Third Ward, said he found himself cut off from past support by the recent redistricting which put part of the Third District into the Fourth District.

Peterson served on the City Council from 1997 to 2001. After leaving the council, he moved to Burlington for several years.

Asked whether moving out of the city may have hurt his election chances, Peterson said he didn't think so.

"All the time I was gone, I still worked here," said Peterson, who is a salesman at Lake Geneva Chevrolet.

Asked if he'd consider running again, Peterson was noncommittal.

Another candidate affected by the readjusted lines between the Third and Fourth districts was Alderwoman Arleen Krohn, who has represented the Third Ward for the past 11 years.

The redistricting moved the Third District lines past her home, leaving her in the Fourth District.

Krohn campaigned hard in her new district, but lost to newcomer Sarah Hill 200 to 93.

In a short interview in the City Council chambers, where candidates came to get election results, Krohn said many of her key supporters were left behind in the Third District, and some were even redistricted into the First District.

"We were cut off all the way around," Krohn said.

Krohn will remain on the City Council one more year, representing the Third District.

She said she's still unsure whether she'll try her hand at getting elected in the Fourth District.

Fourth District winner Sarah Hill came down to compliment Krohn on her campaign.

"Congratulations honey," replied Krohn. "And welcome to it."

"That was so much fun," Hill said of the campaign. "It's going to be so interesting."

Called later at her parents' house, Hill said she did some research on running for office, and took some general advice, as well.

"Everyone told me going door to door would win the day," she said. "I had a blast meeting my neighbors."

She said the redistricting that put Krohn outside her traditional voter stronghold probably also helped.

Hill said she wants to make sure she is thorough and well prepared as an alderwoman. "I'm very much about gathering information and doing a good job," she said. Perhaps a downside from being elected to the council, she'll have to resign her position as citizen representative on the city Plan Commission.

In Second District, Penny Roehrer, a former alderwoman, tried to make a comeback, but saw her attempt fall short against newcomer Jeff Wall.

Unofficial returns showed Wall ahead 186-96.

Roehrer congratulated Wall, wishing him luck.

"Now I have Mondays free," she quipped.

Wall said he handed out nearly 400 pamphlets and went door-to-door in his district. A former store manager of the local Stinebrink's Piggly Wiggly grocery store, Wall said he believes he had name recognition in his district.

"I'm hoping everything goes smoothly for the next two years," Wall said.

"I did the best I could," Roehrer said later while at City Hall. She served as alderwoman from 2008 to 2010.

She said she enjoyed campaigning, even though she knew it would be difficult. She said she was encouraged by many people she met by campaigning.

"I hope I can serve the city some way in committee work," she said.

Would she consider running again?

"I'd really have to think about it," she said. "It would depend on the circumstances, I guess."