The turnout and weather was good but the results of the Tuesday, Nov. 6th Ohio County General Election were not what democrats wanted.
There were 888 ballots cast prior to election day. A total of 2,483 of 4,700 (53 percent) ballots were cast including a possible record 492 straight republican tickets to just 159 democratic ballots.
“We had candidates that worked very hard, quality people,” said first year republican party chairman Don Thomason. “The turnout was great for a midterm. I don’t know how the national attention affected local voters but I heard numerous voter stories saying ‘this was the first time I ever voted republican.’
Led by incumbent sheriff Glen Potts, the Ohio County Republican Party completed a sweep of the local contested races.
Potts was elected to a second term with 76 percent of the vote, 1854-581 over democrat Doug Taylor.
Potts said he is looking forward to four more years of serving the people of Ohio County as he pledged to improve working conditions and benefits for officers while continuing to keep Ohio County a safe place.
“I lost a whole department in four years,” said Potts who is staring a new term with four new people who will have to go to the academy.
He noted that there could be big savings if the city police and sheriff combine, going from 18 to 14 or 15 officers.
“We have got to look at the future. It’s not popular with some but it’s something that should happen,” Potts added. Because Ohio County has no jail, the county is required to book in any persons arrested by the city police. A reason officers move from Ohio County is they have to be jailers, deputies and transport officers compared to being just deputies elsewhere.
Amy Hamilton Hochstrasser rode the republican wave to unseat incumbent Deb Cappel 1462-975.
Hochstrasser, a political first timer, said it is an opportunity and timing which brought her to run for office. She had run for school board.
“It’s a complex job,” she admitted. “I am hardest on myself and I will work to do my best. I am willing to learn and train. (The riverboat) will be a big challenge. Overwhelming. I know I can learn. I will have a lot of good people around me and look to pull from each other’s strength.”
Cappel had been the first democrat to hold a courthouse office in a long time. She won the first two precincts reporting (precinct one and 11) but Hamilton claimed the other nine.
Assessor Ed Hautman retained his job with a 1487-941 win over political newcomer Pam Brown.
This was Hautman’s first race after serving under Bobby Joe Keith for two years and running unopposed four years ago.
“ It’s a public service. My job is being fair and equitable and a lot goes into that,” he admitted. “There are three half million dollar homes and 38 or so other new homes that I’ll have to assess. Usually I have only four or five. The assessed value goes up which lowers the tax rate (while) prices go up to blacktop.
In county council races, former auditor Deb Thomason was a 258-182 winner over Tiffany Clark, another newcomer, to fill the vacancy held by Dill Dorrell for over 40 years.
Thomason plans to use her experience as auditor to make sure council and the public understands the budget process. “We have to be frugal,”she contends. “People need to understand we have a maximum levy. We are getting new homes but the state says you only have a max(imum). The county has handled the riverboat money well. I have some ideas that may help there.”
Chris Flood defeated Jeff Rumsey (D) 288-210 for county council second district.
“ It’s been a one of a kind experience. It’s been fun. Sometimes stressful. A whirlwind of emotions,” said Flood during the party’s victory celebration at the Ohio County Fairgrounds.
In council district 3, incumbent Don Grace held off challenger Carol Stow Stapleton (D) 512-245.
Former utility superintendent Marty Dennis defeated Jeff Iceberg (D) 423-284 for county council seat in district 4. Dennis had lost to Iceberg by three votes four years ago.
Republicans took control of the county council as three new members will join Grace and fellow republicans Tammy Elbright and Ron Spurlock in January with councilman Mark Guard the lone democrat.
One thing elected officials from both parties have agreed on over the years. to paraphrase was the saying of the late democratic councilman Howard Weismann. You check your politics at the door. We’re all here to serve the community.
The only democratic victories came with commissioner Todd Walton (1.497) running unopposed and Kevin Rohrbach (80) as the lone Pike Township advisory candidate
Hannah Burke posted a 128-46 win over Dennis Covington for Pike Township Trustee.
Bridgett Bolling (283) was unopposed for Cass Township Trustee. In the race for Cass Township advisory board Raymond Kirkpatrick (262), Sonny Henry (249) and Kathy Halloran (234) earned the top three spots ahead of democrat Joyce Messer (93).
Sissy Potter (1,377) was unopposed for Randolph Township Trustee
Advisory board members included Teresa George (1,017), Nanette Williams (1,005) and Sonja Keith (974).
Union Township Trustee Dee Dee Helton (185) was unopposed with advisory board members Jerry Koons (140), John Wilber (123) and Kristen Earls (121).
Connie Smith (1,554) and Gary Kinnett (1,357) retained their Rising Sun School Board seats.
Other unopposed result included:
Prosecutor: Lynn Deddens (R) 1,921
Recorder: Doris Young (R)
Coroner Cliff Thies (R) 1,955
Surveyor: Wayne Stahl (R) 1,903
U.S. Representative: Greg Pence (R) 1,657, Jeannine Lake (D) 679, Tom Ferkinhoff (L) 58.
Congressman 67th district; Randy Frye (R) 1,756, Cordelle Feuston (D) 616.
State Senator: Chip Perfect (R) 1,934
U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R) 1,586, Joe Donnelly (D) 747, Lucy Brenton (L) 62.
Secretary of state: Connie Lawson (R) 1,609, Jim Harper (D) 681, Mark Rutherford (L) 74.
Auditor: Tera Kluttz (R) 1,576, Joselyn Whitticker (D) 684, John Schick (L) 86.
Treasurer: Kelly Mitchell (R) 1,659, John Aguilera (D) 658.