Several contested races highlight primary election day here

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The voter turnout was only about 25-percent at Tuesday’s primary election here in Switzerland County, but those who did go to the polls found some interesting contested races on the ballot for both political parties.

All vote totals are unofficial pending certification by the County Election Board.

COUNTY SHERIFF

In the Democratic primary for Switzerland County Sheriff, incumbent Nathan Hughes defeated challenger Bill Browning by a total of 1,133 to 195.

Sheriff Hughes will now face Republican Daniel Goldstone in the November election. Daniel Goldstone was unopposed in the primary, and received 247 votes.

COUNTY COUNCIL, DISTRICT ONE

This was the only race in Tuesday’s primary that featured a contested race for both political parties. The winner will represent Jefferson I and Jefferson II precincts on the county council.

In the Democratic primary, Tom Conroy defeated Lannie Canada by a vote of 315 to 166.

The Republican primary was a very close race, and will be determined by absentee and provisional ballots. As of Wednesday night, Eric Cole edged Jeanette Andrew 48-46 to claim the Republican nomination. The Republican race could ultimately be determined by a recount.

The winner in November will replace Democrat Kenny Griffin, who did not seek reelection.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT THREE

In the Democratic primary for Switzerland County Commissioner for District Three, Evelina Brown outlasted Jim Wingate by a vote total of 667 to 617.

She will now face incumbent Republican K.C. Banta in November. He was unopposed in the primary, and garnered 320 votes.

COUNTY AUDITOR

The race for the Democratic nomination for Switzerland County Auditor was a three-person race, with current deputy auditor Rachel Bladen emerging as Tuesday’s winner.

She earned 700 votes to defeat challengers Sharon Harris, 368 votes; and Randy See, 255 votes.

There is currently no Republican on the ballot for County Auditor, although the Republican party can fill that vacancy prior to the November election.

Republican Janice Ramsey currently holds the position, and is not running for election.

PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

At press time, this race is still too close to call, but it appears that Chad Lewis will emerge as the winner in a tight, three-person race with Jason Pattison and Kristen Vandewater.

The prosecutor represents both Switzerland and Jefferson counties, and because Jefferson County has not yet finished its count, the final totals cannot be made public.

Here in Switzerland County, Chad Lewis won with 511 votes, followed by Kristen Vandewater with 384 votes and Jason Pattison with 375 votes. Preliminary returns in Jefferson County showed Kristen Vandewater winning there, but no by enough votes to stay ahead of Chad Lewis once Switzerland County is added in.

This race could be headed for a recount.

Current prosecutor Chris Naylor is not seeking reelection, and there is currently no Republican nominee for the fall election.

COUNTY OFFICES

In the Democratic primary here there are several county offices that saw unopposed races.

Current County Clerk Ginger Peters received 1,108 votes; current County Assessor Joan Armstrong received 1,049 votes; current County Councilman from District Two Mike Jones received 255 votes; and current county councilman from District Four Don Covington received 231 votes.

None of those office holders currently have opposition in the fall.

There will be a contested race in the general election for the County Council seat in District Three. Incumbent Republican Terry Hall (110 votes) will face Democratic challenger George Adams (221 votes) in the general election. Both were unopposed in the primary.

TRUSTEES

All Switzerland County Townships are electing trustees this year.

— In Cotton Township, incumbent Barbara Bowling (171 votes) was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and currently has no opposition in the fall.

— In Craig Township, incumbent Anthony Jackson (101 votes) was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and currently has no opposition in the fall.

— In Jefferson Township, Ginny Leap (375 votes) defeated Barbara Ray (193 votes) in the Democratic primary; and will face Republican Lowell Wayne Sullivan (117 votes) in the fall.

— In Pleasant Township, Andy Jessup (65 votes) was unopposed in the Republican primary, and currently has no opposition in the fall.

— In Posey Township, incumbent Robert Jackman (52 votes) was unopposed in the Republican primary, and will face Democrat Chris See (94 votes) in the fall.

— In York Township, incumbent Clifford Hatton (109 votes) was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and will face Republican Beverly Stoops (26 votes) in the fall.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE

Current Circuit Court Judge Ted R. Todd was unopposed in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, and received 1,058 votes here. He will face Republican Stephen Tesmer in the fall. Stephen Tesmer was unopposed in the Republican primary, and received 294 votes here.

The Circuit Court judgeship is shared between Switzerland and Jefferson counties.

NATIONAL RACES

— For U.S. Senator, Republican incumbent Richard Lugar was unopposed in the primary, and received 337 votes here. He has no Democratic opposition in the fall general election.

— In the race for the Ninth District Congressional seat, incumbent Republican Mike Sodrel defeated challenger Sam Schultz here by a vote of 295 to 67; and also won district wide.

In the Democratic primary, former congressman Baron Hill won a four-person battle. He received 960 votes here, with Gretchen Clearwater (165 votes); Lendall Terry (50 votes); and John Hockersmith (49 votes) rounding out the count.

This sets up another Mike Sodrel-Baron Hill battle in the fall in an election that will attract national headlines.

STATE RACES

— For the State Senate seat in District 45, incumbent Democrat Jim Lewis defeated challenger Steve Meyer by a vote of 981 to 268. Jim Lewis will now face Republican Floyd Coates (299 votes) in the general election.

— In the House of Representatives race for District 68, Democrat incumbent Robert Bischoff was unopposed, and received 1,118 votes. He will face Republican Bill Ullirch (293 votes) in the November election.

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For a complete precinct by precinct vote tally, see page 8 of today’s edition.