Gunkel unseats former boss Veldheer in Davison County treasurer raceChristie Gunkel unseated her former boss Brenda Veldheer in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the position of Davison County treasurer.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Christie Gunkel unseated her former boss Brenda Veldheer in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the position of Davison County treasurer.
Since no Democrats or independents filed to run in the Nov. 6 general election, Gunkel’s victory in the primary also means she will be the county’s next treasurer.
Gunkel won with 1,433 votes (59 percent) to Veldheer’s 1,012 votes (41 percent).
“I’m ecstatic. I want to start tomorrow,” said Gunkel, who squeezed in comments between calls from supporters. She credited family and friends for helping her win.
“It was nerve-wracking, but it went well. Campaigning was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it.”
Gunkel, 35, of Mitchell, will be sworn in as treasurer in January.
Veldheer, 56, also of Mitchell, has served in the position since 2004. The office comes with a four-year term.
“I’m just kind of disappointed that I didn’t get in again, but I wish her well,” Veldheer said. “Now I can go on to bigger and better things. I’ve got until January to figure out what I want to do.”
One of those things, she said, is a trip to New York to see a first cousin who has a starring role in the Broadway musical “Newsies.”
Veldheer’s recent time in the office was marked by a confrontation with the county commissioners over passport processing, which was transferred to her office over her objections and then later transferred to the Auditor’s Office.
Gunkel’s challenge to Veldheer brought drama to a race that’s typically more low-key.
Gunkel, who worked for three years as a deputy treasurer under Veldheer, said she was fired in June 2011. Officially, the reason for her departure was sealed under the heading of “personnel matters.” But Gunkel said she was dismissed following a closed meeting in which the county commissioners sought her opinion on the operations of the Treasurer’s Office. The commissioners declined to discuss specifics publicly, but some said they did not agree with the decision to discharge Gunkel.
After Gunkel’s departure, Veldheer clashed with commissioners over Gunkel’s replacement. The commissioners initially refused to fill the position but eventually relented.
Asked if she would have done anything differently in the campaign, Veldheer said, “I could have spent more money on advertising, but I was busy with the demands of the office and just didn’t have enough time to campaign.”