Lenzner surges to sheriff race victory

Schmidt gets easy win in six-way race for GOP nod for 6th Assembly District
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

Experience won out over a fresh perspective as George Lenzner cruised to victory Aug. 9 over Brad Olsen in the Republican primary for Shawano County sheriff.

Lenzner, currently the chief deputy for the county, received 4,631 votes versus 2,705 for Olsen, who serves as chief for the Oconto Falls Police Department. Lenzner had the endorsement of several previous sheriffs, including Adam Bieber, who is completing his second term and opted not to run again.

The vote count does not include results from the village of Tigerton, which had not submitted voting tallies to the Shawano County clerk’s office by press time.

Lenzner had almost double to triple leads against Olsen at all of the Shawano city precincts, and he also won most of the precincts in western Shawano County. However, Olsen had strong showings in most of the eastern county precincts, including Bonduel and the towns of Washington, Green Valley, Hartland and Maple Grove.

Lenzner had run for the top cop position based on his 34 years of experience with the sheriff’s department, starting as a corrections officer in the jail and working his way up the ranks. Olsen, who lives in Shawano County, had some experience in local law enforcement but cited most of his work in Oconto County, culminating in becoming Oconto Falls’ chief in 2014.

There are no other established candidates for Lenzner to take on in the general election, so unless certified write-in candidates vie for the seat in the general election Nov. 8, he will take over as sheriff in January.

Another big race for Shawano County was the 6th Assembly District race, with six Republican candidates vying to replace Gary Tauchen, who is retiring from the Assembly after more than a decade.

Peter Schmidt, of Bonduel, won the Republican nod for the Assembly seat in a six-way race with 2,137 votes and will face off against William Switalla from Wittenberg, who saw no primary competition in the Democratic primary. Schmidt’s lead was more than double that of his closest competitor, Dean Neubert, of Hortonville, who receive 1,010 votes on Aug. 9.

Nathan Michael, of Tigerton, came in third with 946 votes, followed by Craig Arrowood, of Shawano, a former Tauchen aide who received 893 votes in the primary. David Kohn received 732 votes, while Matthew Albert finished in last place with 455 votes.

Businessman Tim Michels won the Republican nod statewide in the governor’s race, and in Shawano County, he also surged ahead in the vote count. Michels received 3,359 votes, compared with 3,o03 for Rebecca Kleefisch, who served as lieutenant governor under Scott Walker. Tim Ramthun finished a distant third in Shawano County with 549 votes.

Michels, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, will face off against Tony Evers, who is seeking a second four-year term.

Mandela Barnes, the current lieutenant governor, easily saw victory in the county with 1,146 votes to secure the Democrats’ nomination in the U.S. Senate race, and he will compete to unseat Ron Johnson, who is seeking a third term in federal office.