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Melbye re-elected 9th District judge by 59-41 margin

BEMIDJI – Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye, who secured re-election Tuesday, is looking forward to continuing his work on the bench.

“It’s the most fulfilling job I think anyone could have,” Melbye said by telephone Wednesday morning.

Melbye was re-elected for a six-year term in the Ninth Judicial District. He held off challenger Diana Sweeney, a public defender in the district, receiving 59 percent of all votes cast to Sweeney’s 41 percent.

In another judicial election, Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter won re-election unopposed, receiving 120,936 votes for 99.3 percent.

Melbye garnered 82,680 votes to Sweeney’s 56,550. Results from all 769 precincts were complete but not yet official on Wednesday.

“I am disappointed but I have no regrets,” Sweeney told the Pioneer. “I followed my conscience and did what I thought had to be done.”

Melbye, who previously worked as a law clerk in Beltrami County, first was elected to the bench in 2006.

“The voters are just wonderful and really responded to my positive campaign,” he said.

Sweeney, seeking public office for the first time, ran for district court judge based on her 24 years of legal experience.

“I have the best of both worlds,” she said. “Now I can go back to a job that I love with coworkers who are awesome.”