Howard Klug elected Williston mayor

WILLISTON The City of Williston has a new mayor for the first time in 20 years.

Howard Klug won election Tuesday with 2,923 votes, or 75.5 percent, according to the unofficial election results.

The newly elected mayor will replace Ward Koeser, who did not seek re-election.

Klug, a longtime resident of Williston, has served on the city commission since 2008 and is part owner of the El Rancho Hotel in Williston.

Two other candidates were seeking the mayor’s post: Marcus Jundt, who received 735 votes or 19 percent; and Jim Purkey, who received 187 votes or 4.83 percent. There were 23 write-in votes.

A total of 3,868 votes were cast for mayor.

Both Jundt and Purkey moved to Williston in recent years. Jundt is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Williston Holding Company, and owns and operates several restaurants in the city. Purkey, an archaeologist, works at Williston Home & Lumber and on Saturdays at Books on Broadway. He has worked as an archaeologist for road projects in the Williston/Watford City area and been a substitute teacher in Williston.

Klug was born in Minnesota and moved to Williston with his family when he was 3 months old. He was educated in Williston and also graduated from Minot State University in 1980 with an education degree a major in history and a minor in business. His parents and other family members reside in Williston.

Klug was first elected to the Williston city commission in 2008 and re-elected four years later for a second term.

He said the first thing he will do as the city’s mayor is talk to each of those sitting on the commission and be on a one-to-one basis with them.

“Day two we start working on the budget to make sure we’re prepared for the governor’s budget and everything is in place to ask for,” he said. He said that then they’ll get their partners in place, whether it’s Minot, Stanley or other communities.

After that, he said they’ll visit with developers and find out their plans for affordable housing and what the city can do to help them.

All three of the candidates for mayor noted in their campaigns that affordable housing in the city was a top priority.

Klug will take over as mayor on June 26.

In the Williston commissioner race for election of two commissioners, incumbents Tate Cymbaluk and Chris Brostuen were the top vote-getters with 2,482 and 2,379 votes.

Others running for the two posts were Jeffrey Olson, 916 votes; and Guy Schiessl, 905 votes. There were 23 write-in votes.

Janet Zander was running unopposed for municipal judge. She received 3,120 votes. There were 17 write-in votes.