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Voters Send CAB Clear Message
May 7, 2008 - Voters came out in what may be record numbers on Tuesday and, in the process, elected three new people to the seven-member Charles A. Beard School Board.
Mark Fort, Steve Dalton and Tim Wehr were elected, respectively, to seats for Wayne Township, Greensboro Township and Ripley Township. Incumbent Leah Kopp, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in early 2007, held on to a second Wayne Township seat that was up for election this year.
In the Wayne Township race, Fort received 1,224 votes (37.35 percent) to Kopp's 1,142 votes (34.85 percent). A third candidate, Brian Smith, had 911 votes (27.8 percent). Voters in Rush County's Ripley Township actually favored Kopp to Fort by a vote of 298 to 262, but Wayne Township and Greensboro Township voters made up the difference for Fort, giving him a 962 to 844 vote edge in Henry County.
Dalton took in 1,259 votes (58.64 percent) to take the Greensboro Township, beating incumbent Debi Ware, who had 888 votes (41.36 percent). Ripley Township voters gave Dalton a 250 to 231 victory in Rush County, but he had 1,009 votes to Ware's 657 in Henry County.
Wehr claimed the Ripley Township seat with 1,043 votes (49.81 percent). Three-term incumbent Mike Fruth, the board's current president, finished second in that race with 621 votes (29.66 percent), and Jeremy Howard, who also ran unsuccessfully in 2004 and 2006, received 430 votes (20.53 percent) to finish third. The Ripley Township vote was close in this race as well, with Wehr just pulling out a three-vote victory over Fruth there (187 to 184).
The terms of office for Fort, Dalton and Wehr begin July 1. Kopp, who still has one-year left to finish on her current term on the board's "lag" seat, will not begin her new term until July 1, 2009.
Yesterday's voter turnout in Henry and Rush counties may have been at record levels. Henry County reported that 50.36 percent of its registered voters voted, far exceeding the 31.59 percent and 29.24 percent respective participation levels from 2006 and 2004.
In the Henry County Republican primary, Sam Beckenbaugh defeated incumbent Phil Estridge for the Southern District county commissioner nomination by a vote of 2,030 (43.79 percent) to 1,655 (35.70 percent). Glenn Anthony finished third in that race with 951 votes (20.51 percent). The Democrats do not have a candidate in this race, so Beckenbaugh will be unopposed in the fall, absent a challenge from an independent candidate.
In the commissioner's Middle District race, former Henry County Sheriff Kim Cronk beat incumbent Larry Hale by a vote of 2,909 (60.32 percent) to 1,914 (39.68 percent). Cronk will face Democrat Brian Ingermann, who had no primary challenger yesterday, in the fall election.
In the race for three at-large county council seats, Republicans Mike Thalls, Harold Griffin and Mike McKown posted the highest vote totals, beating fellow party members Don Shaw and Bob Veach. Thalls, Griffin and McKown will face a challenge in the fall from Democrat Jeff Hancock.
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