By NICK MARIANO
MT. VERNON — —
Jefferson County voters Tuesday elected a majority of Republicans running in contested races for county board commissioner. The make up of the board, including candidates in uncontested races, will be nine Republicans and four Democrats.
Also, two of four incumbents were defeated for the new board. Another candidate, Jeremy Hall, a Democrat, had been appointed to the board 10 months ago but will now serve as an incumbent on the new board.
Contested were districts 2, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12.
Nearly 69 percent of voters in District 2 returned incumbent Republican Joey McDermott to the board with 1,003 votes over the 460 votes cast for Democrat Calvin McClintock.
In District 4, it was incumbent Republican John Keele with 923 votes, or 66 percent, over Democrat Pat Garrett, who took 483 votes.
Two newcomers competed for the District 5 seat with Republican Randy Jay Edwards elected with 762 votes or 53 percent compared to Democrat David Stewart’s 689 votes.
Longtime county board member Ted Buck, a Democrat, lost his District 6 seat to his Republican challenger Jeff L. Williams by nearly 20 percent of the vote. Williams took 689 votes, 60 percent, to Buck’s 463.
The two candidates were no strangers to one other. Previously, it was Buck that had defeated Williams.
Williams said he believes running a positive campaign helped him win.
“I just think people thought I was going to treat everybody fairly and I realize there are two sides to every issue,” Williams said.
Buck said he thought both he and Williams ran a clean race and said he thought voters felt it was a time for a change on the board.
“I wish the board all the luck because they are spending our money and if they do get it wrong then we suffer so I hope they do it right,” he said.
Hall, who had been appointed as a democrat, took the District 11 seat with 532 votes, or 56 percent, over Republican Stan Elliott, who had 424 votes.
“I thank Mr. Elliott for running a clean campaign. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience for me,” Hall said.
Hall said he thought he was elected because voters recognized his actions on the county board as independent from partisanship or other clique notions on the board.
In District 12, it was another Democrat, Wayne Hicks, defeating Republican incumbent Scott D. Taaka with 656 votes to 419. Hicks and Taaka had ran against each other in a previous county board race in which Taaka won by 46 votes.
“I feel pain for Scott because he ran a good race. He did a good job. I knew I was going to have to work hard to win my seat back,” Hicks said.
Hicks also said he hopes board members will steer away from partisanship and vote on issues with the best interest of constituents in mind.
Running in uncontested races for the board were: Steve Draege, Republican, District 1; Tommy Hayes, Republican, District 3; Jim Laird, Democrat, District 7; Don Rector, Democrat, District 8; Robert White, Republican, District 9; Robert Watt, Republican, District 10; and James Malone, Democrat, District 13.