Tom Nelson defeats Kevin Sturn to win fourth term as Outagamie County executive

Residents vote Tuesday at the Grand Chute Town Hall.
Residents vote Tuesday at the Grand Chute Town Hall.

APPLETON - Outagamie County voters propelled County Executive Tom Nelson to his fourth four-year term in office ahead of his challenger, former county board member Kevin Sturn.

Nelson secured 55% of the vote, or 28,813 votes, over Sturn, who received 44% of the votes, or 23,018, according to unofficial election results.

"I'm grateful for the support of Outagamie County voters and humbled by the results," Nelson told The Post-Crescent. "We assembled a broad and deep coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents who affirm the good work we are doing here, all that we accomplished and all that we will do in the time ahead."

First elected as county executive in 2011, Nelson ran unopposed in his previous two elections.

During his campaign, Nelson said he wants to continue growing the Appleton International Airport and maintain a declining property tax rate.

Nelson shelled out a large amount of money on this race, raising five times as much as his opponent and outspending Sturn $357,000 to $32,000.

Nelson endured criticism during his campaign by county board members and anonymous group Fact Check the Exec for running for higher offices during his time as county executive. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 and U.S. House in 2018.

His challenger was also endorsements from a wide array of county elected officials including 21 of the 36 county board members, County Board Chair Jeff Nooyen, Sheriff Clint Kriewaldt and Greenville Village Board President Jack Anderson.

Outagamie County saw high voter turnout for the spring election, with 47.6% of eligible voters casting their ballot — over double last year's spring election that saw a 22% voter turnout and over 2020's spring election and presidential primary that brought 47% of voters to the polls.

More: Appleton-area election results

Sophia Voight is a local government and political reporter for The Post-Crescent. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sophia_voight.

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Outagamie County executive: Tom Nelson defeats Kevin Sturn