Deputy Freitag beats incumbent Kindler in vicious race
Published 12:50 am Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputy Kurt Freitag won the race for sheriff Tuesday in what has been one of the most heated local races of the year.
Freitag received 6,500 votes, or 54 percent, while incumbent Sheriff Bob Kindler received 5,505 votes, or 46 percent.
“I’m excited to start implementing the things I’ve talked about,” Freitag said. “I have a lot I feel I can give to the residents of the county.”
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He said he was “ecstatic” and “very humbled” at the results.
At least 50 of his supporters — including family, friends, fellow deputies and some officers with the Albert Lea Police Department — cheered his name as the results came across a television at The Cove Bar & Grill at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club.
“Thank you to all you guys who supported me,” he said, recognizing the people who had yard signs, went door to door or expressed support through word of mouth. “I don’t know how I can repay you.”
Freitag, 48, lives west of Albert Lea and has 21 years of law enforcement experience — 19 of which are with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office. He has touted his experience in the military and the leadership he gained as a noncommissioned officer.
He campaigned as a solution for the Sheriff’s Office and said he would be approachable in the position.
Across Albert Lea at Country Inn & Suites, Kindler met with his supporters as the results came in.
“I’m disappointed in the way things turned out,” Kindler said. “But like I said at the forum, I have a unique skill set that will allow me to go to other places. I’m looking forward to exploring those opportunities.”
Kindler, 55, lives southeast of Albert Lea and has worked with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office since 1987. He was promoted to detective in 1992 and was elected as sheriff in 2010 against former Sheriff Mark Harig.
He said previously that some of the highlights of his term were reorganizing the department and creating a full-time emergency management director position. The Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Responders system was also launched while he’s been in office.
Freitag thanked the voters and said some of his initial priorities will be to improve the quality of investigations within the department, to increase patrol presence and to do everything he can to generate more revenue in the jail.
He said he thinks he can bring the department back together through experienced leadership.
“When leadership makes decisions in the best interest of the Sheriff’s Office, morale is going to automatically improve,” he said.
Kindler said he thinks it is going to take a lot of work to bring the department back together.
“It’s a tall order that’s going to take some time,” he said.