NEW ULM - With 25 out of 25 precincts reporting early Wednesday, Matt Ringhofer, Patricia Hoffman, Jill Hulke and Sharon Gieseke led in the race for District 88 School Board, in that order.
The preliminary vote counts were as follows: Ringhofer, 16.58 percent; Hoffman, 16.52 percent; Hulke, 14.36 percent; and Gieseke, 12.08 percent.
The race was relatively close for some of the candidates, with Rebecca Fliszar garnering 11.34 percent of the votes; Chris Cook, 11.02 percent; Jerod Spilman, 8.99 percent; and Dennis Waloch, 8.8 percent.
Voters could vote for up to four candidates (but could vote for fewer than four).
The eight candidates ran for four seats on the school board. Hoffman was the only incumbent running. Three other incumbents up for re-election, Carol Ackerson, Susan Nierengarten and Patti Gramentz, chose not to run.
Ringhofer, 40, is a school counselor in District 77, Mankato.
School Board Winners
Hoffman is a professor at the College of Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Hulke, 32, is employed in the supply chain department of Christensen Farms in Sleepy Eye.
Gieseke, 55, is a founder and president of the Minnesota Brain Injury Force, Inc., a non-profit corporation that supports brain injury survivors.
Most of the candidates leading in the Tuesday's polls (Ringhofer, Hulke and Gieseke) graduated from New Ulm schools. All four are long-term residents of the district and either have, or have had, several children in the school system.
Most (Ringhofer, Hoffman and Hulke) had also declared their support for a new tax levy, also on Tuesday's ballot, during the campaign; only Gieseke opposed the levy, citing fiscal conservatism.