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Two incumbents hold off lone challenger in WF commission race

Duane Hanson1 / 2
Mark Wentz2 / 2

WEST FARGO – There will be no change in the City Commission here after the two incumbents running in a race of three both won re-election Tuesday night.

Newcomer Brad Olson challenged incumbents Duane Hanson, who was vying for a second term, and Mark Wentz, who hoped to win his first election after serving on the board as an appointee since 2012.

Olson came up short with 28 percent of the vote. Wentz received 37 percent of the vote and Hanson 35 percent, according to complete but unofficial results.

Wentz was appointed to the School Board in 2012 after Lou Bennett moved out of the state. The 45-year-old is a general manager of Red River Electric Inc. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children.

Wentz said Tuesday night that his first election went well. He also commended Olson for a good campaign.

“I think it was a very good, nice race,” he said.

Wentz received 1,016 votes, followed by Hanson, who received 971 votes.

If Olson would have succeeded in his challenge, he would be the only city resident south of Interstate 94 serving on the commission. Olson received 772 votes.

Hanson was elected in 2010 after serving 11 years as a West Fargo School Board member. The 58-year-old is a financial adviser who owns a small business. He and his wife, Betty, have two adult daughters.

Hanson said Tuesday that he did not assume re-election would happen, but he was grateful to the voters.

“You’re always concerned,” Hanson said. “It’s not my first election, so it gets easier. I’m happy with the results. We’ll do the best job we can to represent the city.”

Olson was a Bowbells, N.D., city commissioner before moving to West Fargo. He and his wife, Sheila, have two children.

The 53-year-old is a program director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

The three candidates tended to agree on many issues facing West Fargo, including support of a 1 percent sales tax proposal to pay for infrastructure improvements in the next 20 years. The sales tax also was on Tuesday’s ballot.

The three candidates also supported developing West Fargo’s business area.

Wentz said the commission has approved improvements along Main Avenue and Sheyenne Street and new businesses are moving in.

Commissioners serve a four-year term and are paid an annual salary of $7,688.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

(701) 241-5530