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Lake County primary ends with Baltich, Abazs tied for second

Bob Delaney receiving ballot from Fall Lake Township election judge Dolores Delaney at Tuesday’s special primary election for Lake County supervisor. Photo by Nancy McReady.

by Tom Coombe

A primary to winnow the field of candidates for a vacant county board seat in Lake County isn’t over yet.

While Jack Nelson finished first and moved on to the November general election, it’s not yet clear who he will square off with.

That’s because Ely’s Joe Baltich and Colby Abazs tied for second place with 99 votes each.

The vote totals were formally canvassed Thursday at Two Harbors and a recount is set to follow.

Should the recount result in another tie, state law calls for the tie to be broken by random selection.

Every vote mattered in Tuesday’s primary, in a district that includes Fall Lake Township and spreads to Crystal Bay, Beaver Bay, part of Silver Bay and an unorganized township.

Nelson collected the most votes with 124, while Baltich, Abazs and Paul Hartshorn were in a nail-biter for second place.

The county showed both Baltich and Abazs with 99 votes and Hartshorn next with 97.

Two other candidates - Steven Marolt and Mark Haarman - lagged far behind.

The special election was held because the District 1 seat was vacated by the death of longtime Commissioner Pete Walsh, 68, of Finland, on Jan. 19.

Baltich, a former Ely mayor and city council member, racked up the bulk of his vote total in Fall Lake, where he easily finished first with 81 votes.

Abazs was second there with 34, followed by Marolt with eight votes, Haarman and Nelson with seven each and Hartshorn with six.

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