Ohio County Republicans celebrated a sweep of the contested races in the 2016 General Election Tuesday, Nov. 8th.
Connie Brown, GOP chairman, wouldn’t say it was entirely about presidential candidate Donald Trump but reported, “they (residents) just kept calling me for Trump signs. A lot of people are excited over this.”
Leading to the sweep was a record number of straight party ballots cast with 572 by Republicans to 210 by Democrats.
61 percent turnout
The turnout saw 2988 or 4926 registered voters or nearly 61 percent voting including 1024 absentee and early votes. There were several spoiled ballots and an unreported number of provisional ballots.
Of that 61 percent, Jamie Stegemiller (R) recorded an identical 61 percent win over challenger Theresa Scott 1,789 to 1,103 for Ohio County Clerk of Courts. Stegemiller has been serving out the term of Annie Jo Jackson who left the position to be sheriff matron.
“It was tough. I was busy working (the election) and couldn’t get out to campaign as much as I would have liked,” noted Stegemiller. “I received a lot of support from the republican party, family and friends.”
Scott, a first time political candidate, said the experience was “fun and I learned a lot. It was an education. I don’t regret doing it.”
The local professional photographer took the results in stride but learned she had won. Well, according to a report on channel 12, “they were scrolling (results) on the bottom of the screen and they had me winning,” she said somewhat puzzled.
Scott did win precinct one 106-90 but Brown won the remaining 10.
Meanwhile, Stegemiller called it an awkward day. “It was very stressful having to work the election (as clerk). There were a lot of things that went wrong which were fixable.”
The official results were not approved until Stegemiller called the company in charge of the ballots. Results showed 11 precincts of 13 reporting. The two additional precincts were presidential and federal only ballots which Ohio County did not use.
Election board member Mick Liggett noted there were problems with some ballots that had the bottom torn improperly. It was human error that was able to be fixed reported Liggett.
Brown holds off Pflum
Republican chairman Connie Brown, longtime republican commissioner, had a battle from first timer Jerry Pflum. She recorded a 1,720 to 1,173 victory (closer than previous victories)
“The country’s all worked up with this presidential race,” Brown noted. “A lot decided to vote a straight ticket and chose republican.”
Brown credited her opponent saying, “He was a new candidate who really got out and worked hard.”
Pflum, another first timer, campaigned in many different ways from family walks, to a giant head in the Navy Bean Festival parade and a new age approach of posting videos on Facebook.
The republican dominance was so overwhelming that the only two precincts won by the democrats were Pflum’s win in precinct two (109-93) and Scott’s win in precinct one .
Democrat party chairman Brian Graham, although disappointed with the outcome, contended, “we had a great slate. I’m proud of their effort. It’s tough (being a) predominantly republican county.
“It’s hard to beat an incumbent (Brown) and Jamie (Stegemiller, although not an elected incumbent) is in office”
“Tom (Baxter) will do well and I congratulate all of them,”added Graham. “A high turnout usually favors democrats but not this year.”
Graham also pointed to the The Trump factor at the state level as well.
The third locally contested race was for county commissioner. Republican Tom Baxter and Democrat Larry Brett were vying for the seat vacated by republican Shane Koons, who chose not to seek re-election.
Baxter over Brett
Baxter complied the largest margin of victory with a 1,980 to 890 win over Brett.
Baxter got involved as the county’s emergency management coordinator but admits his goal is basic.
“I plan to be patient and learn what the responsibilities of commissioner) are. The most difficult part of campaigning, where I was able to visit 80 percent of voters, were a lot of questions asked that weren’t directly to the commissioners’ (office),” noted Baxter. People are concerned about their property taxes which Baxter hopes to learn more to be able to answer questions instead of pointing the finger to go see Ed (assessor Ed Hautman).
The county highway department is a significant chunk of the county budget and people want roads kept up. “It is a continuing challenge,” he admitted. “I really want to have a positive relationship with the city.”
Uncontested Ohio County results included:
Treasurer- Yvonne Walton (R) 2,378
County Council-at-large: Tammy Elbright (R) 1,456, Ron Spurlock (R) 1,367, Mark Guard (D) 1,219.
Dearborn-Ohio County Circuit Court Judge- James Humphrey (R) 2,276.