NEW GUYS ON THE BLOCK ... Stan Stoppenhagen (left) and DuWayne Herman are the two new members of Adams County Council, having been swept into office on Tuesday in a Republican landslide in the county. (Photo by Eric Mann)
The Grand Old Party had a grand old evening in Adams County Tuesday, sweeping all contested county races in the November general election balloting.
Republican candidates posted what had to be considered upset victories over three sitting Democrats, held onto two other contested seats, and filled a pending vacancy in the county sheriff's office (see related story).
In addition to claiming two seats on the Adams County Council that previously were held by Democrats, local Republicans dislodged the sitting county assessor, and retained a stranglehold on the board of county commissioners.
"It was a good night," understated county GOP Chairman Rob Noetzel. "I'm honored by the support we got from the community. It's humbling. And every one of these (winning candidates) feels the same; they're humbled."
Noetzel said the national tide against incumbent politicians "probably affected our totals a little, although I don't want to attribute our success tonight solely to that."
The GOP chairman praised candidates from both parties for their efforts to serve the public.
"It's easy for people to sit back and criticize, so it's nice to see people of both parties put their names in the hat and run for office. Both sides fielded a real good group of people, and I'd like to commend all the candidates."
GOP newcomers Stan Stoppenhagen and DuWayne Herman posted relatively easy victories in their races for the First and Second District seats on the Adams County Council, respectively. Stoppenhagen captured more than 60 percent of the vote en route to a 1,976 to 1,253 election night win over Democrat Lynn Selking in the district that includes Preble, Root, Union, Kirkland and St. Marys townships.
Herman, longtime city attorney under former mayor Fred Isch, captured all five Decatur precincts on his way to a 1,412 to 1,187 win over Tom Krueckeberg, the current council president, for the seat representing Washington Township and the city of Decatur..
"I'm pretty excited," Stoppenhagen said as the GOP celebration wound down at the local Elks lodge. "The campaign wasn't my favorite part, but I'm looking forward to doing the job. I just decided it was time to step up to the plate."
Herman, making his second run at elected office and his first since 1986, said he and his wife and daughter "walked a lot of streets and knocked on a lot of doors" during the campaign.
"It's amazing," Herman said of his election victory. "I'm thankful to all the voters in Decatur who showed confidence by voting in me."
County council members running unopposed and assured of another four-year term in office included Republican Eric Orr in District Three and Philip Wulliman in District 4.
In the race for county assessor, Republican newcomer Donald Kuhn unseated three-term incumbent Democrat Judy Affolder in one of the closest races of the evening. Kuhn grabbed 51 percent of the vote to out-poll Affolder 4,832 to 4,611.
Sitting GOP candidates prevailed in the other two contested races decided on Tuesday as veteran county commissioner Ed Coil garnered nearly 70 percent of the vote on his way to a 6,345 to 2,960 win over Democrat Robert Frock in the District Two race.
And incumbent county surveyor Paul Norr defeated one-time surveyor Bil Wemhoff by a similar margin, 5,970 to 3,459.
Running unopposed for county office were Republican Gayla Reinhart, who captured 7,625 votes in her bid to return as county clerk of courts, and prosecuting attorney Chris Harvey, a Democrat, who collected 6,590 votes.
Two township trustee races were on Tuesday's ballots in Adams County and the major parties split.
In Washington Township, incumbent Democrat Sue Reidenbach fended off Republican challenger Nichole Adney, 1,190 to 1,016, the winner claiming 53.9 percent of the vote
In Union Township, GOP candidate Brad Alberson bested Democrat Kriss Affolder and independent Barbara Mihm. Alberson pulled in 152 votes to 129 votes for Mihm, whose husband, Rex, had been the trustee for 20 years, and 91 votes for Affolder. Alberson had 40.8 percent of the votes, while Mihm got 34.6 percent.
Three township advisory board races were decided yesterday, with three people chosen for each board:
In Kirkland Township, the lone Republican, Elicia Oliver, led with 246 votes, followed by Democrats Rene Brown at 202 and Mike Busse at 200. Democrat Dan Elzey finished out of the running with 193 votes.
In Washington Township, Republicans Barbara Converset-Affolder and Amelia "Millie" Deaton and Democrat Tom Schultz were elected. Converset-Affolder had 1,524 votes, Schultz got 1,343, and Deaton received 1,259. Democrat Elizabeth Adams drew 1,202 votes.
In Monroe Township, Republicans Brice Amstutz (870 votes), Roy Lehman (829), and Arlene Kuntzman (677) were chosen while Democrat Jerry L. Schwartz was left out, with 448 votes.
Other township vote totals:
Union Advisory Board: Jeff McIntosh (R) 289, Leo Thieme (D) 226, and Barry Scherer (D) 202.
Root Trustee: Dan Bieberich (D) was unopposed and got 1,506 votes.
Root Advisory Board: Fred Kunkel (R) 1,433, Dwight Pierce (D) 1,272, and Anna Spangler (R) 1,178.
Preble Trustee: Darrel Ehlerding (R) was unopposed and got 408 votes.
Preble Advisory Board: Mike Werling (R) 378, Jackie Hoffman (D) 257, and Warren Scheumann (D) 251.
Kirkland Trustee: Michele Guise (R) was unopposed and got 330 votes.
St. Marys Trusteee: Russell Cook (D) was unopposed and got 320 votes.
St. Marys Advisory Board: Tony Heiser (R) 327, Harvey Jones (R) 316, and Pat Norton (R), 314 were elected.
Blue Creek Trustee: Kevin Werst (R) was unopposed and got 158 votes.
Blue Creek Advisory Board: Jeff Yoder (R) 123 and Mel Burkhart (D) 99.
Monroe Trustee: Gerald "Jerry" Walker (R) was unopposed and got 899 votes.
French Trustee: Steven Affolder (D) was unopposed and got 194 votes.
French Advisory Board: Dianna Herman (R) had 248 votes, Mike Lipscomb (R) 236, and Norm Glass (D) 176.
Hartford Trustee: Kerry L. Steiner (R) was unopposed and got 242 votes.
Hartford Advisory Board: Three Republicans were the only candidates: Doug Schwartz 227, Myrna Bauman 225, and Mike Liechty 223.
Wabash Trustee: Jeanene Neuenschwander (R) was unopposed and got 1,411 votes.
Wabash Advisory Board: The GOP had the only candidates: John Amstutz 1,316, Mark Neuenschwander 1,277, and Alan Bauman 1,252.
Jefferson Trustee: Dennis Caffee (R) was unopposed and got 120 votes.
Jefferson Advisory Board: Mark Lehmann (R) 105, Nathan Liechty (R) 104, and Robert Reef (D) 70.
In Geneva, two unopposed Republicans were elected to the town council: Doug Milligan drew 312 votes and Jim Timmons was re-elected with 303 votes.
Lot of straight tickets
Straight-ticket voting was a key element in the huge sweep of Tuesday's election by Republican candidates in Adams County.
A total of 1,314 voters cast a straight Republican ballot, while only 563 voters did the same for their party. That's a 751-vote difference every Democrat had to make up!
Oh, yes, and there were five straight Libertarian ballots.