Several offices in Dane County and Madison are up for election this spring, but few people are running for them. The deadline to declare candidacy was 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.
All 37 seats on the Dane County Board of Supervisors are up for election, but only seven of them will be contested.
"It's the smallest election in memory, by far," says Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell. "Two years ago there were 14 contested races. Four years ago there were 20."
Two of the seven seats each have three candidates, which forces a Feb. 18 primary. Todd Osborne, Bob Green and Abigail Wuest are all running for the Cross Plains seat (District 28) currently held by Kurt Schlicht, who is not running again. Maureen McCarville faces a challenge from both Terri Kelso (who previously ran in 2012) and Dustin Wichmann for her DeForest seat (District 22).
The other five contested races will be settled during the April 1 general election.
Chris Hoffman is challenging Leland Pan for his Madison seat (District 5), located downtown and around the UW. Andrew Schauer is challenging David Wiganowsky for his Sun Prairie seat (District 21). Patrick Stern will challenge Dorothy Krause for her Fitchburg seat (District 27). Jerry O'Brien is taking on Patrick Downing for the latter's seat in western Dane County (District 30) and Pat McPartland and Mike Willett will compete for the Verona seat (District 32) now held by Erika Hotchkiss, who is not running again.
Two open seats -- being vacated by Dianne Hesselbein and Melissa Agard Sargent, both of whom now serve in the state Assembly -- have only one candidate each. Paul Nelson is running unopposed for Hesselbein's Middleton seat (District 9) and Michele Ritt is running unopposed for Sargent's northside Madison seat (District 18).
McDonell, who used to be board chairman, suspects that with progressives firmly in power, challenges are difficult. "The balance on the county board has shifted enough that there's no incentive [for conservatives] to recruit," he says.
One kink in the county races is that Bob Salov, who represents the Cambridge area (District 37), was late in filing his declaration of candidacy forms. That gives any potential opponent three extra days to file for the seat. That deadline is now 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10.
In the race for Madison school board, just three candidates filed for two seats.
Michael Flores, who was defeated by Mary Burke in an open seat in 2012, is running against Wayne Strong, who was narrowly defeated by Dean Loumos last spring. They will be running for Seat 6, currently held by Marj Passman, who is not running for re-election. With only two candidates, there will be no primary.
Ed Hughes, the current president of the board, is running unopposed for Seat 7.
Two Dane County Circuit judges -- William Hanrahan and John Markson -- are also up for election, but both incumbents appear to be running unopposed, according to a candidate list (PDF) issued by the Government Accountability Board.