GOP controls county offices
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 3:03 PM
Spirits were high Tuesday night at the Livery Stable – Jefferson County Republican Party election headquarters – as a number of local candidates followed wins at the state level.
With each round of tallies announced, the room responded with cheers and applause. When the night’s final numbers were posted, winning candidates took turns addressing the room. Finally, the night ended with a champagne toast led by Republican Party chair Bob Courtney.
It was much quieter at the Jefferson County Democratic Headquarters on Main Street following the county’s final tallies. Three Democrats won elected offices, including County Coroner, Recorder and one of three at-large seats on the County Council.
Democratic Party Chair Jim Crone said he was “very surprised,” and – like many others at the location – was quite disappointed in the outcome of local races Tuesday night.
“I had thought we would win more races locally,” he said.
He believed the influence of Donald Trump’s campaign at the national level proved to be an issue for Democrats at a local level.
Republican Melinda Hallgarth-Klopp secured the race for county treasurer from Democrat Leigh Koehler with 6,764 votes – or 50.78 percent. Koehler received 6,556 votes.
After final results were tallied Tuesday night, Hallgarth-Klopp said she looked forward to working with employees in the office as a “full-time” treasurer and keeping the office “balanced on a daily basis.”
“Getting it straightened out and keeping it that way,” she said, noting that even if she had lost, the experience of running had been a positive one.
Republican Jeff Daghir retained his position as county surveyor with 7,271 votes to Democratic opponent William E. “Bill” Pettitt’s 5,840.
Daghir said he was happy the election was over. “We both ran a good race,” he said. “Relieved to have it over with and be able to get on with the job.”
Democrat Rodney Nay got 65.92 percent – or 8,849 votes in the county coroner race. His opponent, Republican Scott Stevens received 4,575.
Nay said after the final tally that he was “very flattered, very honored and a little overwhelmed” at the support from the county residents.
Democrat Molly O’Connor ran unopposed for county recorder.
O’Connor, who received 9,165 votes in total, said she is fortunate to continue with the work she enjoys and plans to keep up the service the recorder’s office is known for.
Commissioner Lower District
Republican David Bramer will replace Democrat Mark Cash. Bramer received 7,370 votes to Cash’s 5,820.
Bramer called his win “just another blessing,” in his life.
“Win or lose, I’m glad I won, but it was a lot of fun meeting the people of Jefferson County,” he said.
“I had a slogan of building a brighter, better future for Jefferson County, and I really think we can and I look forward to working with them – getting the county involved and moving forward and seeing what things we can do.”
Commissioner Middle District
Republican Robert A. Little will retain his seat as a county commissioner with 8,961 votes to Democrat Richard H. Ice’s 5,820.
Little said he was appreciative of support from the community and pledged to “be the same committed servant” he’s been for the past four years in the position.
In January, Little and Bramer will join Republican Norbert Schafer on the commission.
County Council At-Large
Republicans Heather Traylor Foy and Pam Crozier, along with Democratic incumbent D. Joe Craig, will join the county council following the election.
Crozier received the most votes with 6,579. Foy received 6,458 votes and Craig received 5,122 votes.
Laura Cash Boldery, a Democrat running for re-election, received 4,896 votes – not enough to retain one of the three at-large seat. Republican Denise Leiske received 4,827 votes and Linda M. Greene, a Democrat, received 4,078 votes.
Foy said she looked forward to a “learning experience.”
“I’ve always been someone who’s coachable, teachable and trainable,” she said, acknowledging that she’s never held elected office before.
“I think the fact that I’m so engaged in the community – I felt like that was an asset to me.”
Foy said she hoped her experience on other boards and involvement in area organizations and athletics was what caused voters to trust her and be proud to give her their vote.
Crozier also expressed her eagerness to learn “the facets of that job, more in detail,” and hear what the public has to say.
“I think there’s some exciting times ahead for our county,” she said, adding that she was proud of her party.
“I’ve never been more proud. I’m just really excited to work with partnerships, even with Democrats.”
Craig said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve another term and also looks forward to working with the new council members next year.
“It’s good to win,” he said. “I appreciate everyone who voted for me.”
Still, the win is a little bittersweet. Craig said he thought the Democrats had a good team running for the at-large seats and that the county lost a great council member Tuesday.
The incumbent, who met with several people while going door-to-door during his campaign, said most constituents were appreciative that he stopped by. Some had questions about insinuations made about the ongoing county audit and he tried to clear up some of the misinformation if possible.
Others wanted to know his opinion on the national races. Those races seemed to trickle down to the local races for elected this year, he said.
In January, the three at-large council members will join Republicans Ray Denning, Chris Shelton and Judy Smith, as well as Democrat Gary Armbrecht.