RED WING — It's down to two candidates in Goodhue County. And one ballot.
Two individuals filed as candidates for the open District 1 seat on the Goodhue County Board of Commissioners.
Linda Flanders, a Red Wing resident and former police officer, will face Darwin Fox, a Welch resident and member of both the Planning Advisory Commission and the Board of Adjustments.
With two candidates on the ballot, the Nov. 5 election will now serve as the general election for the seat rather than a primary, which would have been the case if more than two individuals had filed.
Scott Safe, who had served as a temporary commissioner during former Commissioner Ron Allen's illness, did not file for election.
Safe, Fox, Flanders and Carol Overland had all applied to serve as interim commissioner until the election could be held.
The District 1 seat on the county board has been vacant since Allen's death in April. At that point, by statute, Safe could no longer be considered as a temporary commissioner and an interim commissioner needed to be appointed by the board.
That has been problematic, though, as two commissioners have consistently voted in favor of an interim commissioner — Safe, who was selected to fill in for him by Allen before Allen's death, has been voted on several times — but two other commissioners, Barney Nesseth and Jason Majerus, have consistently voted against putting an interim commissioner on the county board to fill in until an election.
The Post Bulletin reached out to both Nesseth and Majerus via email and phone, but neither could be reached for comment.
During a previous board meeting, Majerus said none of the individuals who have applied to be the interim commissioner are acceptable to him. Nesseth said that because an interim commissioner could end up voting on a major issue such as the county's solid waste hauler ordinance, the closed landfill deal or the county budget, he would not vote to seat anyone on an interim basis.
"That's too important a vote for an appointed official," Nesseth said, referring to the waste hauler ordinance.
The good news for District 1 residents is that the two candidates mean the special election on Nov. 5 will be the final decision. Residents won't need to wait for a runoff election in February as they would have if more than two candidates had filed.