New attorney electedIt appears Douglas County has a new attorney – Chad Larson narrowly defeated incumbent Chris Karpan by a margin of just 1.02 percent.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
It appears Douglas County has a new attorney – Chad Larson narrowly defeated incumbent Chris Karpan by a margin of just 1.02 percent.
Larson, who currently serves as the assistant county attorney in Pope County, won with 7,340 votes.
Karpan, who has served as Douglas County attorney for the past 12 years, received 7,171 votes – a difference of 169 votes.
It is unclear whether or not there will be a recount. Recounts are only automatic at the state and federal level when the margin is a half percentage point or less. At the local level, candidates must request one, according to Vicki Doehling, Douglas County elections administrator.
Doehling explained that if there is a difference of less than one half of 1 percent, the jurisdiction that the race is in pays for it, otherwise the person requesting it would pay for it.
Douglas County Attorney Chris Karpan noted Thursday morning that he is leaning against requesting a recount.
“There’s just nothing I see yet that would indicate there was some sort of error that would make up 160 votes,” Karpan said in an e-mail to the newspaper.
Karpan also commented on the close race.
“There is some level of frustration losing a hard-fought election because in the end, you realize you could have gone fishing all summer and achieved the same results,” he said. “On the other hand, I reconnected with hundreds of really great people and got a lot of heartfelt support I didn’t expect. I truly hope everyone knows how much I appreciate that.”
The newspaper also contacted Larson, who said he is thrilled with the opportunity to serve as the new Douglas County attorney.
“I can’t thank my volunteers or the voters enough,” Larson said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “It was an uphill battle and a very tight race. It’s not easy beating an incumbent.”
He noted that Karpan ran a clean campaign.
Because he is currently the assistant county attorney in Pope County, Larson said over the course of the next few weeks he will focus on the transition to Douglas County.
“I’ve got quite a caseload over there and I will need to fulfill those obligations,” he said. “I will do what I need to do for my transition.”
When asked why he thought voters checked his name, Larson said he heard there were concerns over his opponent’s accessibility and communication with law enforcement officers. And that it was because of his working relationship with some of those officers, especially in the narcotics task force, that helped him win.
IN OTHER COUNTY RACES
The Douglas County attorney race wasn’t the only close election in county offices – two commissioner races were also tight.
Incumbent Paul Anderson, Douglas County commissioner in District 4, beat out his challenger, Arlan Kakac by a vote of 1,219 to 1,163 – a difference of 56 votes.
“I am very humbled by the results,” said Anderson Wednesday afternoon. “Until results from Ward I, Precinct 2 came in, I thought I’d lost.”
Anderson said he didn’t get to finish his campaign because of an accident that happened. On October 3, he was working on a window when he fell and landed in a window well. He is at home recovering.
Anderson said he is grateful to be re-elected because he has a job to do and he’s determined to get it done. While campaigning, Anderson said he heard from voters who told him that they voted for him the last two times, why wouldn’t they again?
He was very pleased with the results and thanked those who voted for him – and those who didn’t.
Another tight race was for commissioner in District 3.
Incumbent commissioner Norm Salto beat his opponent Elroy Frank by a vote of 1,615 to 1,413 – a difference of 202 votes.
“I feel great,” said Salto Wednesday afternoon. “They [the voters] must have felt I was doing a good job for the last four years. I’ve got good ol’ common sense.”
Salto believes that voters know where he stands and knows that he doesn’t change his ways.
As a re-elected commissioner, Salto said he plans to get the Douglas County Jail project finished and hopefully opened next month. In addition, he plans to finish the Douglas County Courthouse remodeling project, make sure the incinerator is up and running and also take a look at some projects at the old Central School and replacing boilers at the courthouse.
“I want to try and work on the long-range plan so we can keep moving forward,” Salto said.