by Kathy Tretter
Of the 5,117 Spencer County registered voters eligible to vote in the November 5, Municipal Election, 1,841 either made the trip to the polls or voted in advance, putting the overall turnout for the five communities involved at 35.98%.
It should be noted that the Town of Gentryville holds municipal elections in conjunction with the off-year congressional elections. Also that 247 Straight Party votes were cast for the Republican ticket and 71 for the Democrats.
Following are the results for Rockport, Dale, Santa Claus, Grandview and Richland. Four of the five saw changes in the board’s makeup.
City of Rockport
In the only Spencer County city (which translates to having a mayor as well as a council),it was a Republican sweep.
Republican Donnie Winkler beat of incumbent Democrat Gay Ann Harney 364 to 297.
The clerk-treasurer had been determined in the Primary, when republican challenger Cathy Vaughn Kirkpatrick won out over incumbent Susie Roberts and there was no Democrat challenge in the November race.
Republican Joseph Carpenter retained his seat as Ward 1 Council representative, beating out challenger Dayna Wilkinson (D) 390 to 257.
Ward 2 Councilman Ferman Yearby III (R) also held his seat, despite challenges from Heath Therber (D) and Jason Phillips (I). Yearby captured 53.73% of the vote (346 to 244 and 54 respectively).
Ward 3 Councilwoman Donna G. Lashley and Ward 4 Councilwoman Connie Hargis, both Republicans, retained their seats as no candidates filed to unseat them.
For the Council-At-Large seat, Republican challenger Darrell Wilson beat out incumbent Democrat Roxie Decker in a close race, 334 to 323.
Town of Santa Claus
Three incumbents sought to retain their seats on the Santa Claus Town Council.
Two were successful.
Republicans Kevin Burke and Seth Windell will serve another term whereas Republican John Bowen will not.
Democrat Tricia Vaal, in her first run for office, was the top vote-getter with 20.17% of the votes cast (voters were asked to choose three).
Democrats Carl Somerlott and Peter Linne both got 14.96% of the vote but didn’t make the cut.
Republican Clerk-Treasurer Kelly Greulich faced no challenger and will continue to serve.
Town of Dale
A similar situation happened in Dale, where newcomer Larry May (I) was the top vote getter of the 11 candidates running for five seats. His election knocked off Rick Hile (D) from serving another term. Incumbents Ken Beasley Jr., Deloss Painter, Donnie Wertman (all Republicans) and Democrat Ray Striegel all retained their seats.
Town of Grandview
With two exceptions (one being Clerk-Treasurer Donna K. Burrows (I), who was unopposed), the make-up of the Grandview Town Council completely changed.
Again voters were to choose five and only one current councilman, Tracy Arndell chose not to run for re-election.
Incumbent Angie Fischer (I), will remain on the board, but Rob and Rusty Burrows and Jennie Weatherholt are out.
The new council will be made up of Fischer, along with Republicans Dakota and Doug Risse and Stacey Schwoeppe, plus Independent Jordan Sheets.
Town of Richland
Richland was the only community in which the council makeup stays the same.
Independent Clerk-Treasurer Morgan Jones retained her seat and was not challenged.
As with neighboring communities, the top five vote-getters would serve as the Town Council and the five now serving — all Independents — were the top vote getters of the seven on the ballot, challenged by Republicans Stan Blanchard and LaDonna Duvall.
Anne Decker, Nathan Jones, Dan Kincaid, Terry Sarver and Ellen Sarver will each serve another four year term.