Cherokee County Election Commissioner Kris Glienke held a hearing on Friday at the Cherokee County Courthouse to address an objection to Chad Dutler's candidacy for the Board of Supervisors as a Democrat. The objection was brought forth by the Central Committee of the Cherokee County Democrat Party.
The Party Chairman, Chuck Clark, objected to the listing of Chad Dutler as a Democrat on the ballot as a candidate for County Supervisor of District 3 in Cherokee County. Dutler filed as a Democrat candidate in March of this year, and won the Democratic Primary Election on June 30. Questions about Dutler's candidacy were raised when it was revealed that he is registered as an Independent.
The panel that listened to Clark's objection was made up of Election Commissioner and Cherokee County Auditor Kris Glienke, County Attorney Ryan Kolpin, and County Treasurer Hedgie Brandt, who heard the complaint brought by Clark to the matter if Dutler is truly a Democrat as stated on his Affidavit of Candidacy that was filed with the Secretary of State's office.
The procedings began with the reading of Clark's objection, then the panel asked Clark to present any other evidence. Clark stated to the panel that if a candidate is going to receive support he should support the party he's running under. "I have no objection to the gentleman. I don't know anything about him or even talked to him. It's nothing personal," said Clark to the Panel.
After hearing Clark's statement, the Panel asked Dutler to introduce any evidence. "This is my first time doing this. I thought I'd done everything that 's needed to do to run," said Dutler. Kolpin asked Dutler straight out, "Are you a Democrat?"
"Yes," replied Dutler.
"Do you have intent to file as a Democrat?" said Kolpin.
"Yes I do," said Dutler. Dutler then went on to address why he never got back to Glienke when she called to inform Dutler of his voter registration. "On Aug. 16 when Glienke called, I misunderstood why she called," Dutler continued. He then told the Panel that he plans on officially changing his party affiliation.
Glienke and Kolpin both stated that if Dutler would change his registration to Democrat that it would fine. They then asked Clark if that would be acceptable to him.
Clark said, "Yes. Personally, I can't speak for the rest of the people but I have no objection to that."
It was Glienke's opinion that Dutler's nomination petition had the support of the people as evidenced by the signatures on the lawful petition.
Kolpin also agreed, and his opinion is that Dutler's petition is lawful and was presumed to be correct when he gathered the signatures needed and at the time when his petition was notarized.
Kolpin continued by saying there is not a lot of guidance and it is his understanding that the objection by the Cherokee County Democrats should have been raised prior to the Primary Election in June. Further, Kolpin stated that the voters clearly chose Dutler in that election and he should remain on the ballot.
Glienke concurred with Kolpin's opinion.
Kolpin also added, "I don't feel we have the power to take him off the ballot and the County Democrats do have other avenues to object publicly if they don't want to support Dutler."
At that time, a motion was called by Kolpin and seconded by Brandt to move that Dutler be permitted to stay on the November Ballot. Kolpin, Glienke and Brandt all voted in favor of that motion.
Then Glienke called the hearing to a close.
Clark and Dutler then began a conversation and started an open dialogue with each other.
Dutler will face incumbent Jeff Simonsen (Republican) in the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors District 3 race on Nov. 2.