Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 10:15 p.m.
Incumbent commissioner candidates move on
By David Bodenheimer
Three Republican incumbents pushed through the primary and will join five other candidates on the ballot in the November general election.
Incumbent Billy Joe Kepley received the most Republican votes with 8,183 for 15.8 percent in unofficial returns Tuesday night. He was followed by incumbent county board members Don Truell with 6,905 votes (13.33 percent) and Sam Watford with 6,773 votes (13.08 percent).
Fourth-place finisher Todd Yates received 5,343 votes (10.32 percent) to beat out former commissioner Larry Allen by a mere 108 votes.
Allen had 5,235 votes for 10.11 percent in the Republican primary.
“It's always disappointing; this was a real hard-fought campaign,” Allen said. “I'd just like to thank all those people who supported me. We gave it a good run.”
On the Democratic ticket, the leading vote-getter was Jason Hedrick. He received 3,392 votes (24.43 percent) followed by Ronald Swicegood with 2,963 votes (21.34 percent), Kevin Williams with 2,929 votes (21.09 percent) and Jeff Switzer with 2,530 votes (18.22 percent). Phil Olshinski came in fifth with 2,073 votes (14.93 percent) and will be left off the ballot in November.
Yates was not available for comment Tuesday night and has no previous political experience but has been a local business owner in Davidson County for over 25 years with Yates Grading & Paving, Yates Disposal and TCB Builders
Kepley, Watford and Truell all expressed their gratitude to the public for giving them the opportunity to serve again on the board.
“I'm kind of like Ronald Reagan,” Kepley said. “If you have service and enough experience and if you have enough age, it's hard to beat all that.”
Watford, who said he ran on his record rather than campaigning heavily, said he hopes to be able to continue to work on improving Davidson County. Watford will be seeking his third term on the board.
“I just appreciate everyone's support that voted for me,” Watford said. “If elected this fall, I promise to work as hard as ever. I don't mind people criticizing what we do, and I'll take my share of the blame just as long as we (board) get our share of the credit.”
Truell, who has served the past eight years as a commissioner, took a similar approach to Watford's and said he too campaigned on his record but will look to be a bit more active in the fall in preparation for the general election.
“I told my wife when I filed I was going to run on my record,” Truell said. “I didn't put any signs out, I was not going to advertise. I always felt pretty confident.”
The rest of the Republican totals were Eddie Gallimore, 4,509 votes (8.1 percent); Dwight Cornelison, 3,975 (7.68 percent); Kenneth Cavender, 3,265 (6.31 percent); Owen Moore, 3,254 (6.28 percent); Joseph Byerly, 2,269 (4.38 percent); and Eric Osborne, 2,072 (4 percent).
Plenty of newcomers helped fill out the Democratic side of the ballot and will try to help replace the only Democrat on the county board, Chairman Dr. Max Walser, who announced he would not seek re-election.
Hedrick is owner of Hedrick Creative Builders and served as lead builder for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” project that came to Lexington last year. He was not available for comment Tuesday night.
Swicegood said he is looking forward to running against the seven other candidates in the November general election.
“I'm very happy with the voters of Davidson County giving me a chance to be on the ticket in November,” Swicegood said. “Hopefully I can get through that race and support the people that have helped me.”
Switzer said he would like to see more Democrats serving as county commissioners and is excited about being one step closer to obtaining a seat.
“I think in November we are going to find a few more of those seats filled by Democrats,” Switzer said. “I'm going to do my very best to shake every hand, talk to everyone and find out what people's problems are.”
The eight candidates are vying for four seats in November. The seats of commissioners Larry Potts, Cathy Dunn and Fred McClure are not up for re-election this year.
David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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