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County sheriff: Bellows tops Scott in sheriff's race

Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows was elected to a full four-year term Tuesday, defeating Apple Police Sgt. Mitch Scott by a 54- to 45-percent margin, 67,377 votes to 56,216 votes.

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners appointed Bellows sheriff in February after former sheriff Don Gudmundson announced his retirement from the position.

Bellows has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and had been chief deputy with Dakota County for 10 years before his appointment as sheriff.

"I am very gratified with winning this election and the support I received," said Bellows. "I am thankful for the endorsements from the chiefs of police, the elected officials and the commissioners as well as the number of mayors who gave me their support."

"It was very humbling and I look forward to serving the citizens of Dakota County," he said.

For Scott, running in this race was a good experience.

"Although the results are disappointing, I'm happy I did run," he said. "I ran a good race and kept my ethics and integrity."

Scott said this campaign was a 1 1/2 year effort of time, and it was time-consuming.

"I'm looking forward to returning to work," said Scott, who did not rule out running for office in the future.

Bellows said one of the immediate challenges facing the sheriff's office the budget.

"We have to cut $500,000 from our budget for next year, and I know we can do it," he said, "Without impacting any public safety. But for any future cuts, that is really going to be a challenge and I would be very resistant."

County attorney James Backstrom, running unopposed, received 114,024 votes.

For Soil and Water District 1, Diane Blake was elected with 34,914 votes. Others receiving votes were Scott Holm, 26,149 votes; John Ross, 20,684 votes; and Thomas Willenbring, 16,601 votes.

In District 3, Kevin Chamberlain was re-elected with 93,937 votes; and in District 2, Jason Swenson was elected with 29,781 votes, defeating Doug Tipka, 21,892 votes; Don Kuykendall, 17,135 votes; and Anthony Nelson, 24,857 votes.