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Hurd wins in special election

Jeremy Hurd said he got the call just after 9 p.m. – he had won the special election for District 4 County Commissioner in Lake County.

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“We were very excited and really humbled,” Hurd said.

The seat on the county board of commissioners has been vacant since Paul Bergman passed away in late July. Four residents filed for the special election to fill the seat, forcing a November primary election through which Hurd and Amy Stark advanced. Hurd received 226 votes in Tuesday’s polling, while Stark received 172. The district includes wards 2 and 4 of Two Harbors and the second precinct of unorganized territory 2.

On Wednesday, in the wake of the election, both Stark and Hurd said they appreciated the campaign run by their opponent.

“I really couldn’t have been more pleased. We did a nice job of being respectful and clean,” Stark said.

“It was a pleasure running a campaign where the candidates were able to talk about why we were running,” Hurd said. “That is the way all elections should be, and I want to thank Amy Stark for taking the same approach.”

Both Hurd and Stark are lifelong Lake County residents. Stark is a supervisor for Lake County Health and Human Services and Hurd is an attorney with Orman, Nord and Hurd in Duluth. Stark said that although 

she is disappointed about the loss, she has no regrets and is looking forward to gaining back some free time she lost while campaigning.

“Maybe I’ll actually get a closet organized,” she said with a laugh.

When Hurd was asked how he will balance his family, including two young daughters, his work and his new position as commissioner, he joked, “alcohol.” Taking a more serious tone, he said he knows it won’t be easy but is looking forward to the challenge.

“I know that with hard work I will do my best to advocate for Lake County and represent my fellow residents,” Hurd said.

The term lasts until the end of 2014, when the regular election will take place. Hurd plans to run for election and Stark said she hasn’t ruled out running again.

Turnout for the special election was light, with 398 of about 1,500 registered voters voting – that’s less than the primary election, which saw over 400 votes.

“Certainly the senior citizens are turning out,” said judge Phyllis Mealey.

Both Mealey and fellow judge Odelia Hoffman agreed, however, that there had been some confusion about who could vote and when polls would be open. Other judges said that the weather may have kept some voters from venturing out to cast their ballots.