Editor’s Note: A Desirably Unusual Election Season

We’re on the cusp of a Feb. 21 primary election. If you live in Gardner, Gibraltar, Nasewaupee or Sister Bay, you have candidates on your ballot running for local office.

Additionally, every voter in Door County has the statewide Wisconsin Supreme Court justice primary election on their ballot. That race has drawn two right-wing candidates (Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly) and two left-wing candidates (Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz). You can find a story with their biographies on our website at, courtesy of The Badger Project, a nonpartisan, citizen-support journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin. 

The local elections have called a large and diverse field of candidates to serve. After the primary, eight of Door County’s 19 municipalities will have a choice, some for multiple positions. 

The past few years, we’ve seen numerous candidates come out for local school board races. I think we can comfortably speculate that control over pandemic restrictions called many to serve. This year, none of the five school boards have a race, though there are enough candidates to fully seat those boards.

At the municipal level, there are numerous open seats due to resignations or retirements (Sister Bay and Washington) or board members challenging the current board chair (the Town of Forestville, Gibraltar and Sister Bay). In Nasewaupee, there are two open seats because the town went from three board members to five, starting with this year. Perhaps people feel more comfortable running for office if it means they won’t have to challenge an incumbent for the seat. 

We have asked all the primary-election candidates why they are running. We ran the Sister Bay and Nasewaupee candidates’ responses last week, and in this week’s paper, you’ll find the responses from the Gardner and Gibraltar candidates. If you’ve missed any of those, you can find them at

After the primary election, we’ll send questionnaires with more specific questions about candidates’ visions for their towns or villages to all the candidates in all the contested races. If you have questions that are pertinent to your town or village that you’d like us to consider, please email those to [email protected] by March 3.

That we have so many candidates and races is as desirable as it is unusual. Does it speak directly to an uptick in the civic and political health of our communities? I believe so. Now all we have to do is uphold our end of the responsibility under a representative democracy by participating with our vote in the Feb. 21 and April 4 elections.