Republicans sweep the races in Holton for the first time
Election brings changes in town leaders

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

In Ripley County, Decision 2007 saw Republicans sweeping the house in the town of Holton which has predominately been governed by Democrats. The upset came with newcomers Paul Hughes being the front runner for town council with 134 votes, Ryan Lauber, 133 votes, and Angi Farrell with 120 votes to unseat the present democratic board by a double margin.

Incumbent Robert Furst garnered 67 votes, Wilma Myers had 73 votes, and Ronald G. Palmer, 45 votes. The new clerk-treasurer is Krista Bartosz with 113 votes, also a Republican. Democrat hopeful was Jodi Rowekamp, who had 79 votes. Democrat Lisa L. McConnell came in with 41 votes.
A handful of candidates and supporters watched as the results came in for the town of Holton just 35 minutes from the time polls closed. Paul Hughes and Angi Farrell were among those watching the votes scrolling onto the big screen in the lobby on the first floor of the courthouse. Supporters Danny and Alice Beach were visibly pleased with the results.

The first definitive results for the evening were for the town of Versailles and came in just minutes before Holton’s tallies were given. Denessa Benkie took the high vote at 296 for town council, followed by John Holzer, 283 votes, and incumbent Sue Meisberger with 256 votes, all Republicans. Versailles Town Judge Cheryl Richmond, Democrat, retained the seat with 240 votes over Republican challenger James R. Waldo with 166 votes. Newcomer Democrat Kiersten Libby, took the clerk-treasurer position with 245 votes over Michelle Sellers, Republican, with 148 votes.
Milan’s choices for town government remained unchanged with Robert Branigan, (65 votes), Paul Hildebrand, (71 votes), and Matthew Huffman, (66 votes) all Republicans retaining their seats on the town council. Democrat challenger Jim Bode had 44 votes. Clerk Treasurer Gladys Moody, Democrat, was unchallenged and received 77 votes.

At 7:10 p.m. Ripley County Clerk Ginger Bradford announced all of the precincts with the exception of two for Batesville’s race were tallied. Those came in shortly thereafter with Ripley County results being:

Democrat Richard Fledderman retaining the seat for Mayor with 774 votes over Republican challenger Juanita Kaiser, who took 618 votes. Democrat John Kellerman unseated Republican Joseph Radvansky by only 67 votes, 727 to 660 for city judge.

Batesville’s Council at Large went to: Democrat Gene Lambert, 748 votes over Republican Donald Dickey, Jr., 631 votes; District 1 seat was unchallenged with Republican Herman Struewing getting 1164 votes. For the District 2 seat, Democrat Ed Hunter had 76 votes over William Hines (618 votes); District 3 race saw Republican Robert Narwold with 724 votes over Democrat Douglas C. Amberger’s 653 votes. In the District 4 race Republican Brad Dreyer took 727 votes over Democrat Beth Scheele Meyers, who had 648 votes. Clerk Treasurer Democrat Ronald Weigel was unopposed with 1128 votes.

Many of these races had close numbers disproving the theory, “one vote doesn’t matter.”
The custodian was closing the courthouse at 7:50 p.m. with election workers closing the chapter on the election for 2007.

Clerk Bradford noted everything for Ripley County had been tallied with the results posted in the courthouse first floor lobby as well as on the Internet. She noted that Batesville’s results were not final pending results from Franklin County, which weren’t available at that time. As soon as the results from Franklin County were available, the total votes changed to reflect that county’s voters, but the results did not change.

The clerk, who has one election left in her term, noted that everything went smoothly for this election with 22.36% of the registered voters participating. There were votes from six townships that could vote in the 2007 election. Of the 9587 registered voters, only 2144 exercised their right to cast a ballot.

Pictured above from left are: Jim Waldo, who ran for Versailles Town Court Judge, Denessa Benkie, who won a seat on the Versailles Town Council and present Ripley County Surveyor Jeff French and Ripley County Auditor Mary Ann McCoy, all Republicans, who were watching the votes come in at the courthouse Tuesday evening. It was a night for Republicans as Paul Hughes and Angi Farrell, pictured left, were also present to see the votes tallied giving the news they had won in their bids for council seats for the town of Holton.