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Election delivers few surprises

Election delivers few surprises
Election delivers few surprises
Harrison County Republican chair Scott Fluhr shares early election results in the Harrison County Circuit Courtroom last night. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

Approximately 30 percent of Harrison County’s 29,354 registered voters participated yesterday in a Primary Election that resulted in few surprises and some run-away races.
There was a total of 8,765 ballots cast at the 36 precincts or by absentee prior to yesterday. And the results are unlikely to change once the handful of provisional ballots are counted.
One of the most talked about races, for both Democrats and Republicans, was the sheriff’s race. With the incumbent, G. Michael Deatrick, unable to seek another four years in office due to term limits, 10 men signed up to win their party’s nomination. The names on the ballot in the Nov. 2 General Election will be Democrat Gary Gilley and Republican Rod Seelye.
Seelye, who has 19 years experience in law enforcement in Kentucky, posted a landslide victory, pulling in 2,453 votes to the 1,272 combined votes from his two competitors. Tom Bube finished second with 764 votes.
‘This is my first time experiencing something like this. There’s a lot of nervous energy, but I’m excited, too,’ Seelye said. ‘On Jan. 2, I started going door to door and I knocked on doors until Saturday. I think it was very important to get out there and talk to people. I’m pleased with the results, and I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing.’
Gilley, a Harrison County Sheriff’s deputy whose entire 16-year law enforcement background is based here, also won comfortably. He beat the rest of the six Democratic candidates combined, 2,838 to 1,859. The next closest vote-getter was fellow deputy Marty McClanahan with 765 votes.
‘I got the first results at about 6:30 and, after I won three or four in a row, I felt pretty confident with the outcome. I’ve enjoyed the election process and getting out and meeting people,’ Gilley said. ‘I think people believed and trusted in me, and that I’ll wage a war on drugs in Harrison County, and that I can make the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department one of the best in the state.’
Rematch set for council
It will be a rematch of the 2006 General Election in the District 2 County Council race between Democrat, and incumbent, William T. (Bill) Nichols and Republican, and former councilman, Gary Davis.
Nichols defeated his competitor Robert (Bob) Morris 585 to 483.
‘I’m looking forward to meeting Mr. Davis in the fall,’ Nichols said.
Nichols said he couldn’t have done it without help, particularly from his wife, Jane.
‘We just worked hard,’ Jane said. ‘We couldn’t have done it without a lot of help. We appreciate all that the Democrat party did.’
As for the Republicans, Davis (390 votes) outmatched the county’s veterans service officer, Marion Wallace (295 votes) and Tom Wallace (267 votes).
‘I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out,’ said Davis, who was elected to the council in 1998 and was chairman from 2000 to 2006. ‘The big thing was name recognition and the fact that I’ve got qualifications to do a good job. I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I think we did a good job and people remember that.’
In the 2006 election, Nichols topped Davis by a count of 1,871 to 1,601.
Miller to face Klinstiver
Incumbent Democrat Terry Miller easily handled challenger Joyce Deatrick in the party’s District 3 Commissioner race, 3,858 to 708.
‘I’m surprised by the margin of victory,’ Miller said. ‘It’s been a clean campaign.’
Miller will face Republican Jim Klinstiver in November. Miller said the two used to be neighbors and he expects it to be a clean campaign.
‘You don’t have to worry about it getting dirty with me,’ he said. ‘And I don’t think you do with him either.’
Klinstiver received 2,894 votes in the primary.
Metcalf cruises
Making her first attempt at a political office, Democrat Heather Metcalf faired quite well in the auditor’s race, defeating Darrin Deatrick 3,559 to 795.
‘I’m really excited about being the Democrat candidate,’ Metcalf said. ‘It’s pretty exciting to see my name on the ballot.’
Metcalf, who serves as chief deputy to Auditor Pat Wolfe, will face Republican Karen Engleman in November. Engleman, who served as auditor from 1994 to 2002, was unopposed in the primary but received 3,125 votes.
Byrne unseated
Gary Byrne, the only candidate seeking re-election on the North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees, finished second, with 919 votes, for the at-large seat to political newcomer Veronica J. (Sieg) Battista, who received 1,391 votes. Daniel (Danny) Johnson finished third (658 votes).
Battista said she believes voters wanted change and she ‘offered positive change.’
Retired NH teacher Marla Adams won the Jackson Township seat, currently held by Fred Naegele, who did not seek re-election, with 1,554 votes. Her opponents were Jason Seitz (993 votes) and Karl J. Benz (374 votes).
Adams, like Battista, was endorsed by the North Harrison Classroom Teachers Association, which she said helped her reach more voters. She also said many of her 2,500-plus former students and their parents supported her.
The Spencer Township seat, currently held by Bobby Chinn, who did not run again, was won by retired teacher Steve Hanger, who received 976 votes. Finishing behind him were Bruce Fisher (879 votes), Kyle M. Byrne (696 votes) and George (Butch) Black, who withdrew from the race but not in time to have his name removed from the ballot (296 votes).
Hanger attributed his victory to reaching a lot of people through his website created by his son and Facebook and because ‘North Harrison was ready for a change.’
All three newly-elected board members, who will take office July 1, are eager to resolve the teacher contract, which has yet to be passed by the current school board although it was ratified by the teachers a few weeks ago. Adams, however, said she would abstain on voting for the contract because she would financially gain by its passing.
‘The contract was offered in good faith,’ Battista said.
Hanger concurred that the contract needs to be settled as soon as possible. He also wants to check into possibly offering free textbooks.
‘It’s one thing we can do to help,’ he said. ‘It costs a lot of money to put kids through school.’
Adams said she wants to look at the budget early on to see what can be done ‘to keep heads above water.’
Township races set
Two townships ‘ Jackson and Webster ‘ had more than three Democrat candidates seeking a seat, requiring voters to determine who would be on ballot in the fall.
In Jackson, Frederick (Fred) Naegele, who did not seek re-election for his seat on the North Harrison school board, topped his opponents; he received 359 votes. He will be joined by incumbent R. Brooks Richards (321 votes) and Michael Schroeder (279 votes). Schroeder’s brother, Richard, finished fourth (213 votes). In the fall, the three Democrats will be on the ballot with Republican Kevin J. Messick.
In Webster, incumbent Daniel T. McPhillips was the top vote-getter with 154 votes. Joining him on the ballot in the fall will be incumbent Wendell S. (Scott) Weis (125 votes) and Matthew A. Miller (96 votes). Finishing fourth was incumbent Scott Hussung (77 votes). The Republicans will have two candidates on the ballot: Oren L. (Chum) Chumley and Joey Rosbottom.
House District 70
State and local numbers were virtually identical in the GOP race in House District 70. Corydon’s Rhonda Rhoads bested her opponent, Brett Loyd, with 63 percent of the district vote (with 54 of 55 precincts reporting) and with 65 percent of the vote in Harrison County.
‘I’m very grateful that people of Harrison County and the rest of the district still consider me as someone who will speak for them in Indianapolis. I’m ready to go on to the next leg in the General Election with the goal of removing a 32-year incumbent,’ Rhoads said. ‘I’ve been working very hard, and I’ll continue to do so. I really believe we have a shot at this.’
She’ll face Democrat Paul Robertson of Depauw.
Indiana Ninth District
District 9 U.S. Congressman Baron Hill took the Democrat primary by a solid margin against a number of competitors. Hill garnered 35,998 votes; John R. Bottorff, 7,599; Carol Johnson-Smith, 4,639; James McClure, 2,449; and Lendall B. Terry, 1,804.
Hill has represented the district in all but two years (2005 and 2006) since 1999. His challenger in the race will unofficially be Todd Young, a deputy prosecutor from Bloomington.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting late last night, Young collected 34 percent of the votes to Travis Hankins’ 32 percent. Former congressman Mike Sodrel, making his fifth attempt at the office, finished a close third with 31 percent. Rick Warren rounded out the primary votes with 3 percent.
State Rep. District 73
In the House District 73 battle for a seat vacated by Rep. Dennie Oxley I, Harrison County went against the district results.
In the Democratic vote, Salem attorney Ryan Bower defeated Doug Leatherbury in Indiana; however, locally the numbers were reversed. Bower secured 62 percent of the vote in the district; in Harrison County, Leatherbury defeated Bower, 60 percent to 40 percent.
On the GOP side, Salem pharmacist Steve Davisson fell to Henry H. Taylor, 52 to 32, in Harrison County, but he defeated Taylor in the district results, 2,648 to 2,080.
The winner of the General Election will succeed Oxley, who did not participate in the 2010 legislative session because of health issues and did not seek re-election.
Coats an easy winner
Former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats won both in Harrison County and in the statewide race for the job he once held.
Locally, Coats netted 1,866 votes, with John N. Hostettler garnering 806 votes and Marlin A. Stutzman 452 votes. On the state level, with about 91 percent of the precincts reporting, Coats had 39 percent of the vote, with his next closest competitor being Stutzman.
Coats, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1980 to 1988, and in the Senate from 1988 to 1998, will face Democrat U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth in the fall.
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