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Dalbec, Wick prevail in county primaries

Superior Telegram

Rural Douglas County voters were for the most part looking for a change in the sheriff’s office. But in the end, city voters delivered more than 400 votes needed to close the gap and deliver a victory for incumbent Tom Dalbec.

Dalbec won the Democratic nomination for sheriff, carrying 54 percent of the vote to defeat his challenger, Douglas County Supervisor Mark Liebaert. The former Superior police officer decided to run because of what he saw as a lack of accountability from the sheriff. Liebaert said while Superior’s police chief attended meetings and participated in the government and budget process of the city, that wasn’t true of the sheriff.

“I will make sure that I’m accountable and I’ll make sure you know how (tax dollars) are being spent. I will be at those meetings,” Liebaert told the Superior Telegram during an interview before the election.

While rural Douglas County delivered almost 140 fewer votes to the incumbent, it wasn’t enough to overcome the lead Dalbec — endorsed by the Superior police and Douglas County deputy unions —will of city voters. Nearly 62 percent of voters in Superior gave their support to the incumbent.

Dalbec has served as sheriff for almost 12 years.

“I feel without question that I am the most qualified, most experienced, most knowledgeable candidate for the position and that I have not given the constituents any reason to not vote me back into office,” Dalbec said during an interview with the Telegram.

However, Tuesday’s primary is just a first step toward re-election. Now Dalbec faces a challenge in November from Republican challenger Daniel Bethards of Brule.

Bethards is a narcotics officer for the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa.

The two face off Nov. 4.

Another race exclusive to Douglas County put colleagues on the Democratic ticket for Clerk of Courts.

And voters decided overwhelmingly Tuesday to throw their support to Michele Wick, an 11-year employee of the office with oversight for court records and processes.

While her challenger, deputy chief Clerk of Courts David Leckel had more experience, Wick made her presence known to voters.

“I’m willing to learn, willing to bring in new ideas,” Wick told the Telegram before the election. “People in the office have ideas on how things could change in the office to be more efficient. I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to go to the meetings. I’m willing to be a voice for the office.”

Wick is running unopposed in the Nov. 4 election.