NEW LEXINGTON- Who says no one votes during primary elections? Nearly half of Perry County's registered voters braved rains and floods Tuesday night to cast their ballots. The primary's unofficial results held some surprises.
Republican Perry County Commissioner candidate Lloyd E. Harley defeated two-term incumbent Thad Cooperrider 1,849 votes to 1,657. In November, Harley will run against Democratic candidate Ed Keister, who garnered 2,204 votes. Keister defeated challengers Todd Shafer, who had 1,944 votes and Marci McCaulay, who earned 1,589 votes.
"I'm pretty excited," said Harley, who added that it was a "tough race" against Cooperrider. As the general election approaches, Harley wants to focus upon bringing some "satellite," or smaller businesses into the county. "Everyone wants to chase the big smokestacks," he said, but actively pursuing several smaller businesses instead of one or two giant businesses may be more practical. He also wants to explore intensifying the sheriff department's coverage of the county.
Republican incumbent commissioner Fred Shriner handily defeated challenger Tim Phipps, 2,346 votes to 987. Phipps will remain as a Thorn Township trustee. In November, Shriner will run against Democrat Charles W. Van Horn who, with 1,956 votes, defeated challengers Bill Gilligan (1,796 votes), Michael Kimble (1,124 votes), and Justin Nelson (611 votes).
Shriner anticipates a competitive general election against Van Horn, and he believes at least two independent candidates-who are not required to register for the primaries-will run against him as well. Like Harley, he believes that job creation will be a major issue this November. "Everybody wants jobs," he said.
Democratic Perry County Sheriff candidate Amy Nash English defeated challenger Travis A. Keylor 3,139 votes to 2,238. In November, English will run against incumbent Sheriff William Barker who ran unopposed Tuesday night for the Republican sheriff's candidacy.
It was a case of "two out of three ain't bad" for the Thorn Township Fire Department. A 0.8 mills replacement levy passed 724 votes to 574, and a 1-mill emergency services levy passed 786 votes to 507. However, a 1.2-mills replacement levy failed 600 votes to 677 against.
"I'm pretty happy that we passed two of the three," said Phipps. He said the department will experience "some loss in increased revenue" from the defeated levy, but none of the funding from the levies was earmarked for a new building or anything in particular. Funds from the EMS levy will go toward an ambulance or emergency medical services.
Perry County Democrats preferred US Congress 7th District candidate Bill Conner, who received 1,806 votes. He defeated challengers Sharen Swartz Neuhardt (1,531 votes), Jack D. Null (465), Richard Wyderski (448) Dave Woolever (367), and Thomas Scrivens (225). However, Neuhardt prevailed district-wide and will be the Democratic nominee to fillthe vacancy created by David Hobson's retirement.
On the Republican side, Ron Hood won in Perry County with 1,928 votes, defeating Steve Austria (1,120), Dan Harkins (192, and John Mitchel (188). District-wide Austria won the Republican nomination. He will face Neuhardt in November.
In the Republican race for State Representative District 91, Bill Hayes defeated Chuck Wellman, 2,140 votes to 830. Hayes also defeated Wellman districtwide and will have a rematch with incumbent Dan Dodd of Hebron in November.