Conservatives make gains in La Crosse County

Conservatives in La Crosse County chipped away at a longstanding liberal bloc on the county board last night, defeating three incumbents and defending two of their own.

Incumbent conservatives Dr. Laurence Berg and Dan Ferries, both of whom ran on a platform opposing moving the county administrative center, kept their seats, as did a handful of conservative-moderate supervisors who went unopposed.

Three incumbents who line up behind the county board’s leadership also went down. Brian Logue, an executive at the Diocese of La Crosse, took out quarter-century incumbent Don Meyer on the southside of the city of La Crosse. Hubert Hoffman beat one-term incumbent Thom Downer on the outskirts of Onalaska, and Dan Hesse prevailed against three-term incumbent Tammy Gamroth on the county’s eastern edge.

The challengers ran against a move by the current county board to sell the administrative center for $250,000 for redevelopment into student housing and spending tens of millions to buy a bank office building to move county operations into. They also argued the county should collect and reveal competitive bids to remove the asbestos in the current building, questioning the process by which the economics of the decision were figured.

In short, they ran on common sense and clear communication with taxpayers. This post elaborates.

Brian Barton mounted a strong challenge against Steve Doyle, pulling 40 percent of the vote against the 15-term incumbent and current Assemblyman. Three other challengers fell short this time.

Additionally, conservatives John Lautz and Thomas Kruse prevailed in their races for West Salem village trustee and Holmen School Board, respectively. Former 94th Assemblyman Syl Clements also won his bid for West Salem School Board.

The only unfortunate thing about last night’s elections is that there were only nine contested seats on the county board this year. Voters should always have a choice.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.