Joel Knutson didn’t appreciate the flyers that were sent out targeting four Oneida County board seats that were up for reelection before the April 1 election. In fact, he came before the board Tuesday, April 15 and expressed that concern.
“I felt they were uncalled for and stupid,” Knutson said. “I hate to see local politics come to that.”
Knutson, who is a supervisor on the Crescent Town Board and said he is a consultant in the outdoor industry pointed out that the flyers were “part of negative campaigning” especially since they were received by constituents on the Friday and Saturday before the Tuesday election.
The giant postcard type mailers were only sent out in four districts. Those races included District 7 between incumbent Bob Mott and Dennis Schoeneck; in District 11 between incumbent Bob Martini and Robb Jensen; in District 18 between incumbent Candy Sorensen and Lance Krolczyk and in District 20 between Alan VanRaalte and Ken Dirks where there was no incumbent. Mott retained his seat and VanRaalte beat Dirks. Krolczyk beat Sorensen and Jensen beat out Martini.
Sen. Tom Tiffany admits reaching out to candidates Jensen, Schoeneck, Dirks and Krolczyk to create the mailings which belittled the current county board for purchasing the WPS building for $525,000 in 2007 and selling it a few months ago for $185,000. Another point of contention was the fact that some county supervisors wanted to eliminate dams throughout the county.
Tiffany explained during a phone interview the reasons why he encouraged those candidates to send out the flyers.
“I served on the town of Little Rice for two years and we spent hours developing a land use plan for our township,” he said. “When it was presented to the Oneida County board I didn’t feel it got the respect it deserved. Towns should have the final say on how they use their land and I didn’t feel the candidates that were in those districts had respect for land use plans that are drawn up by townships. Private property rights are very important to me.”
Another concern for Tiffany is fiscal responsibility.
“I felt the candidates we backed with the flyers were more fiscally responsible,” he said.
He also stressed that party affiliation had nothing to do with sending out the flyers.
“I don’t know what (political) party any of those candidates have affiliations with,” he said. “It was about those issues and had nothing do to with being Democrat or Republican.”
While the election is almost a month gone and all the candidates were sworn on April 15, Knutson said he is waiting to see how the campaign financial disclosures play out when they are available. Candidates can only spend $1,000.
“I wanted to bring public attention to this issue,” said Knutson. “We’re not all stupid. If you go negative, people will call you on it.”