Six candidates to face off in Winona County Sheriff race - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Six candidates to face off in Winona County Sheriff race

 WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Back in May, current Sheriff David Brand said he was not seeking a fifth term and announced his intentions to retire.

Winona County residents will be heading to the polls Tuesday in a heated contest between six candidates seeking to replace Sheriff David Brand after having served the county for sixteen years.

The first, Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude, has served as Sheriff Brand's second in command for the past 15 years and has worked in law enforcement for 34 years.  Brand has endorsed him as his replacement.

One resident believes Ganrude is the most sensible choice moving forward.
"He gave us examples of things he would do fix problems that we see in our eyes in our neighborhood," says Anthony Ott, of Winona.

Rob Averbeck is a criminal investigator for Winona County. He has worked for the local office for 15 years.  His family says he would take a more personal approach in leadership.

"Knocking on doors, handing out flyers and trying to get everybody's input on what needs to be changed," says daughter, Maria Averbeck.

Kraig Glover is also a criminal investigator for the county and has discussed ways for involving the public in providing feedback on law enforcement performance.

One Winona woman shares why she will be marking him on the ballot.

"He's very knowledgeable," says Mary Sorenson. "He's an excellent person to talk to and get answers. He's a hard worker."

Rodney Hansen ended a 14 year career with Winona County Sheriff's Office in April. He has ran against Brand in the 2006 and 2010 elections and is the former chief of Lewiston Police Department.

Bill Spitzer is the mayor of St. Charles, he also retired from Winona County Sheriff's Office in June, but has been planning to run for sheriff over the past decade.  One Winona resident says it's his public leadership skills that will make him a favorable candidate for the seat.

"He's the only one who's interested in a proactive approach, and he's big into youth prevention programs, he taught D.A.R.E.," says Ted Hazelton.

The final candidate is Gary Hoeppner, who retired last year after serving 25 years with the Winona Police Department. He is the only man running who hasn't worked for the sheriff's office, but hopes to bring a fresh start to the department.

All of the candidates have extensive experience to support their leadership abilities, and many have been discussing the need to increase staff on the force, particularly night supervisors.

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