The stage is set
Democrat Mike Deatrick will face Republican C. Wendell Smith in the fall race for sheriff; Dennis Byrd took an early lead and never lagged behind Gordon Ingle in the Democratic race for prosecutor; Commissioner Terry Miller easily won the Democratic vote and will face Republican Jim A. Heitkemper this fall.
In the 10-man Democratic race for sheriff, only three were serious contenders: Ed Adams captured 19 percent of the vote (1,384), David E. Heilig 14.6 percent (1,019), and Deatrick 23.6 percent (1,648).
Grinning ear to ear, Deatrick said after the votes were tallied last night about 9:30, “I never felt comfortable until the final vote came in.
“I am tremendously happy. I think the voters made the choice because I’ve always been honest and fair with everybody I’ve ever deal with.”
Deatrick, who lost a primary bid in 1994 to former sheriff Clyde Sailor, said victory is far sweeter than defeat. “It is terrific.”
He and his running mate, Gary Gilley, a detective on the sheriff’s police force, now plan to hit the ground running in the second leg of the race.
“We’re going to work extremely hard because we’re going to have a tough race coming up, just as tough as this one,” Deatrick said. “We’re going to plan it the same way.”
Smith, serving as sheriff after being elected by a Republican caucus following the untimely death of former Sheriff William E. (Bill) Carver, won his party’s nomination easily, with 37 percent of the vote.
“I feel very excited about the election,” Smith said. “It seems enough Republicans have faith in me after the six months I’ve been here that they are willing to keep me going.”
The sheriff said he believes upgrading the department’s equipment — trying to bring it into the 21st century where it should be — higher morale among officers and staff at the jail, establishing a chain of command, and the overall performance of the department have contributed to voter confidence in him and his chief, Jodie Wilson.
The top spender in the Democratic campaign for sheriff, Roy (Speedy) McClanahan, placed eighth in the race, with 251 votes or 3.6 percent. The remaining finishes were Randy Orme, 11.7 percent (822 votes); Gregory K. Gibson, 10 percent (715); William R. Brock Sr., 7.9 percent (556); Don Mathes, five percent (366); Charlie Adamson, two percent (142); and Richard E. McKinstry, one percent (77).
In the Republican race for sheriff, Pirtle captured 24.7 percent of the vote while Michael A. Gregory took 20 percent and Ray E. Saylor 17 percent.
Byrd beats Ingle for prosecutor
Harrison County will have a new prosecutor come Jan. 1, but the change in office may not be as great as it could have been. Deputy prosecutor Dennis Byrd defeated Gordon D. Ingle in the Democratic Primary.
Byrd said he’s been prosecuting cases the past 12 years under Ronald W. Simpson, who decided, after 16 years, not to seek reelection.
“I had a lot of hard-working people working for me,” Byrd said, doing such things as putting mailers together and campaigning door-to-door. “It goes to show that hard work does pay off.”
Byrd won 26 of the 35 precincts and received 58 percent of the vote, 3,917 votes to Ingle’s 2,889.
Byrd said he was “pleasantly surprised” by his margin of victory, although he thinks his experience under Simpson helped win votes.
Ingle conceded the race about 8:15 last night. Speaking to a crowd of people on the second floor of the Harrison County Court House, Ingle said, “There’s no way I can make up the deficit” in the number of votes.
“I want to introduce to you our next prosecutor, Dennis Byrd,” Ingle said to thunderous applause. “He ran an excellent race, and he will have my 100 percent support.”
Byrd carried a quote by former Alabama football coach Paul (Bear) Bryant in his pocket throughout his campaign: “Show class, have pride and display character. If you do, the winning takes care of itself.”
Byrd congratulated Ingle for running “a good campaign.”
Currently, Byrd has no opposition in the General Election, but the Harrison County Republican Central Committee has until July to nominate someone to be on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Heitkemper will face Terry Miller for commissioner
Heitkemper squeaked past J.W. (Jeff) Adams at the end of the night’s vote count, pulling 52 percent of the Republican vote to Adams’ 48 percent.
“I’m speechless, but I feel great,” Heitkemper said after learning the finish: 948 to Adams’ 875 votes.
Heitkemper and Adams, both newcomers to Harrison County politics, stood close together as the final precincts were reported last night. Each congratulated the other on a well-run, clean campaign.
“It was a new experience and a good experience; I have had a lot of fun,” Heitkemper said.
Adams said he will likely run for office again. “For the very first time, to lose by only 73 votes, I feel good,” Adams said.
Incumbent Democratic Commissioner Terry Miller, suffering with flu-like symptoms throughout the day yesterday, said about midway of the count last night he was feeling better. He captured 50.6 percent of the vote. Clyde R. Sailor placed second with 37.4 percent and Gene F. Garrett, third with 11.9 percent.
Miller said: “I feel good because I think the people voiced their confidence in me again. I think we’re getting a lot of things done for the county. I think the commissioners are working well together, and I expect more of the same out of this group of commissioners (Rep. J.R. Eckart and Democrat James Goldman).”
Miller added: “We’ve had our disagreements, but we work through them and go ahead.”
Brown ready for race against Davis
Alvin Brown’s victory over his challenger, Dennis Coleman, wasn’t as close this time as it was eight years ago when Brown won the Democrat May Primary by only 39 votes.
Yesterday, Brown carried all seven precincts that vote for the District 1 seat of the Harrison County Council, defeating Coleman 892 to 581 (61 percent to 39 percent).
“This was probably one of the cleanest campaigns I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “My opponent and his wife (Debbie) were my friends before the election, and I imagine they’ll be my friends still.”
Comparing the primary to a preliminary poll, Brown said he believes voters selected him to face the Republican candidate, Lori Davis, because of the job he’s done on the council in the past. (Brown held an at-large seat on the county council from 1985 to 1989 and then won the District 1 seat in 1998.)
“I’ve run against Lori before; she ran a clean campaign,” Brown said.
Brown said he campaigned on issues, with the top one being property taxes.
“We’ve got to do something, and the state’s got to do something to keep property taxes down,” he said.
Brown said he will also continue to support using riverboat money to help reduce the school portion of property taxes.
Nichols wins bid for District 2 seat
Democrat William T. (Bill) Nichols will face incumbent chair Gary L. Davis for the Harrison County Council District 2 seat in the Nov. 5 General Election.
Nichols easily defeated his challenger, Doug Willard, in yesterday’s primary.
“He didn’t campaign too hard,” Nichols said of his opponent.
“It was really an unfair race for him,” Nichols said, adding that he believes Willard’s disability kept him from campaigning.
Willard had said before the election that he didn’t expect to win and he wasn’t doing much to campaign, except making some telephone calls to voters.
Nichols carried all seven precincts that vote for the District 2 seat, earning 76 percent of the vote (1,123 votes). Willard received 356 votes (24 percent).
“I’m just tickled that I won,” said Nichols, who is completing his term as president of the Harrison County Farm Bureau.
Jesse Mathes wins yet another election
A familiar officeholder at the Harrison County Court House won the Democratic nomination for the District 3 seat on the Harrison County Council.
Jesse W. Mathes, who’s served as assessor, auditor, recorder and clerk, defeated challenger Ernest L. (Ernie) Emily, carrying seven of the eight precincts that vote for the District 3 seat. Mathes received 1,122 votes (55 percent) to Emily’s 924 votes (45 percent).
Mathes, who was not available for comment last night, will face incumbent Republican Councilman Kenneth R. Saulman in the General Election.
Lillpop wins 4-way race for council seat
In the crowded Fourth District Democratic race for council, Ray (Radar) Lillpop won with 35 percent of the vote, capturing the right to run against incumbent Republican Ralph Sherman in the fall. Sherman had no opposition in his party’s primary.
Lillpop, a former South Harrison school board member and unsuccessful candidate for commissioner, knows both sides of a race.
“Chances are you’re going to win or lose,” he said. “I accept it either way.”
But he is looking forward to a win in the fall. “My plans would be to represent the taxpayers of Harrison County and do the best job I can do,” he said.
Wolfe handily wins Democrat nomination in auditor’s race
Unlike losing a bid for reelection four years ago as Harrison County Assessor, Pat Wolfe easily won her bid for the Democratic nomination to run for auditor this fall. She captured 54.9 percent of the vote to Carl E. Duley’s 45 percent (3,610 to 2,958 votes).
Wolfe said she believes Duley’s campaign was more organized than hers, and her campaign got off to a slow start because she underwent surgery and couldn’t get out much while recuperating.
“I’m hoping he will help me in the fall because I will need that.”
Wolfe will face Kathy Eckart in the fall, a newcomer to politics. She had no opposition in the Republican primary.
Saulman beats Reas for township assessor
The Democratic primary race for Harrison Township assessor was won by Gerald Saulman, who defeated former councilman Paul Reas for the nomination. Saulman will face Republican Ken Kitterman in the November General Election.
Saulman received 1,169 votes and Reas 869.
Saulman said he thought it was a good race and was glad to win.
The winner of the November assessor’s race will have a challenge to face as the state is proposing changes in property tax assessments, which could raise property taxes dramatically for some people.
Sodrel expected to win Ninth District GOP bid
In the Ninth District Congressional GOP race, Mike Sodrel of New Albany won easily in Harrison County, totaling 1,185 votes to his three Bloomington opponents: Jeff Ellington (189), David Fowler (707) and Chris Redmon (361).
Sodrel, owner of the Free Entrerprise bus company, was apparently an easy winner district-wide. Last night, with 80 percent of the vote counted, Sodrel had 12,078 votes to Redmon’s 6,748, Ellington’s 3,941, and Fowler’s 2,101.
Baron Hill, the Democrat incumbent, ran unopposed in the primary.
Contested trustee races
In contested township trustee races on the Democratic ticket:
In Blue River Township, Michael Byerly, with 184 votes (51 percent), edged Randall L. Brown, 179 (49 percent).
In Posey Township, Debbie Karcher, with 249 votes (56 percent), defeated Joan Picente, 193 (44 percent).
In Spencer Township, Donald W. Satterfield got 363 votes (82 percent) to defeat Orvil Lewis, 81 (18 percent).
In the GOP primary, in Boone Township, Linda King, with 92 votes (63 percent), defeated Norma Ferree, 55 (37 percent).
Mott defeats 3 challengers in N.H. school race
Voters in the North Harrison Community School Corp. elected one incumbent, removed another, and selected the person they wanted to succeed a current board member who wasn’t seeking reelection. (School board seats are non-partisan.)
Kathy Mott retained her at-large seat by defeating three challengers.
“I feel relieved,” Mott said last night after the 11 precincts in the North Harrison school district were tallied.
Mott, who’s completing her first term, said, “My heart goes out to the other three (candidates). I’ve been on the other side” referring to when she lost her first race for the school board.
Mott received 1,260 votes (43 percent). Her opponents finished in this order: Bobby Plummer, 672 votes (23 percent); Pamela J. McCutcheon, 610 votes (21 percent), and Timothy D. Ash, 389 votes (13 percent).
Incumbent Michael Schmidt, who held the Spencer Township seat and was completing his first term, was defeated by Robert A. (Bobby) Chinn.
“I guess I’m disappointed,” Schmidt said. “There were a lot of things I would’ve liked to have stuck around to see through.”
Schmidt said he believes the school board “is a lot better now than it was four years ago,” and despite his loss, he said he thinks the new board will do a good job for the school corporation.
Chinn earned 53 percent of the vote (1,537 votes to Schmidt’s 1,371 votes).
“I was kind of surprised,” Chinn said. “I tried to meet people face-to-face” although he had people helping him with his campaign.
In the race for the Jackson Township seat, Frederick (Fred) Naegele defeated James Isbell, 1,546 (55.4 percent) to 1,240 (44.4 percent).
The seat was up for grabs when Robert Morris, who’s held it for eight years, decided not to seek reelection.
“I figured it would be a close race,” Naegele said. “Jim was a good opponent.”
Naegele, who carried all 11 precincts, said he’s ready to “take on the challenge” of serving on the board. “I feel like I can work with this board.”
The new board takes over in July. The other two members, who will be up for reelection in two years, are Ron Goldman and Leslie Robertson.
Hussung returns, Wolfe will join school board
The non-partisan Lanesville school board race ended Tuesday evening with voters keeping board president Donald Hussung and electing political newcomer Ronald Wolfe, a lifelong Lanesville resident and farmer. He will replace Charles Hambley.
Wolfe beat Hambley, the present school board secretary, and Ellen Bauman, a stockbroker, to become the newest member of the board. He won with 551 votes, or more than 30 percent of the 1,828 votes cast. Hambley received 418 votes and Bauman got 229 votes.
Hussung, a member of the board since 1991, received 627 votes, the most of any of the school board candidates, or more than 34 percent of the votes cast.
“I’m thankful to have the confidence of the voters and look forward to four more years helping lead the school system,” said Hussung, who kept a close watch on the election results last night at the courthouse. “Four good people ran, but, unfortunately, only two could win.
“Charles (Hambley) will be missed. He has worked hard over the 10 years he was on the board to make the schools better for the kids. Charles gave balance to the board and always spoke his mind.”
“I enjoyed serving the community for the past 10 years and was honored to represent the town,” said Hambley. “Ronnie (Wolfe) has a strong name in Lanesville, and he has the support of the community, which is important. I know he’ll do a good job, and I’ll be here to help him during the transition.
“I’m glad Donnie (Hussung) won, and he’ll be able to continue influencing the education process in Lanesville,” said Hambley, who was elected to the board three times and will serve until July 1.
“I’m glad I won,” said Wolfe. “I didn’t know if I could win or not, but I’ve been around a long time and people in the community know me. I’m happy with the outcome of this election.”
Wolfe said he is looking forward to his first board meeting and helping with the challenges that face the school system.