Smith, Landrum win night’s most hotly contested primary races

Vicki Pearson (left), the Republican nominee for Huntington County Recorder, receives congratulations on her victory from current recorder Cheryl Schenkel at the Huntington County Republican Party viewing party on Tuesday, May 8, at the Roanoke Village Inn.
Vicki Pearson (left), the Republican nominee for Huntington County Recorder, receives congratulations on her victory from current recorder Cheryl Schenkel at the Huntington County Republican Party viewing party on Tuesday, May 8, at the Roanoke Village Inn. Photo by Steve Clark.

Davin G. Smith won the tightly contested Republican primary race for Huntington County Circuit Court Judge on Tuesday evening, May 8.

Smith, who spent the evening watching soccer games for his children instead of election results, received 2,074 votes to beat incumbent Jamie Groves, who received 1,979 votes, while Jill M. Denman received 1,032 and Justin R. Wall received 413.

Smith kept abreast of the result as friends texted him the numbers as he watched the games.

Smith said he was overwhelmed and very excited to discover he will be listed on the November ballot for circuit court judge.

“We’re proud of all the work that we put in and it was a great race by all my opponents,” he said. “We get along really well with all our opponents – they’re great people. But we’re so excited and happy for all the support that we have and for all the results that we got.”

Smith also thanked his supporters for his win.

“We wouldn’t have gotten the result without a whole lot of help from a whole lot of people all across this county,” he said.

Groves congratulated Smith on his victory.

“Davin Smith ran a wonderful campaign and he’s a good man,” he said. “He’ll do a good job as judge.”

In the county’s Circuit Court Clerk race Shelley Malone Septer won with 3,100 votes to Rena E. Claus’ 1,789.

For Septer, her mother, Anne Malone, and grandfather, Willard Hildebrand, both served as Huntington County Circuit Court Clerk and she expressed excitement at the prospect of getting to follow in their footsteps.

“I literally have dreamed of being the county clerk since I was young and watched my family heritage play out and it set me on my own path to make my own name and get my own knowledge.”

Vicki Pearson won the Huntington County Recorder seat with 2,996 votes, defeating Huntington Common Councilman Joe Blomeke, who received 2,143 votes.

Pearson currently works in the recorder’s office as deputy recorder and credited that experience with propelling her to the victory.

In the race for County Auditor, Jill M. Landrum won with 2,783 votes. Cheryl Baldridge came in second with 1,280 votes and Donald D. Schoeff Sr. received 1,168.

“I’m really excited to have this victory,” said Landrum, “and to serve as the Republican county auditor at this point. Looking forward to something new and exciting.”

Kittie Keiffer won the Huntington County Council 4th District seat with 749 votes, to the late Don Davenriner, who received 324 votes.

In the race for Huntington Township Trustee, Everett “EJ” Carroll won with 1,722 votes, with Carl Knowles receiving 972.
One of the tenets of Carroll’s platform was beautifying Lake Clare and he promised voters that, if elected in November, he would deliver upon that.

“I have to be really committed to making sure Lake Clare gets the attention that it deserves,” he said.

The top three winners of the Huntington Township Board race were incumbent Tammy Kline with 1,768 votes, Tim Guy with 1,476 and incumbent John L. Baker with 1,375 votes. John Paff received 1,202 votes and incumbent Dane P. Owens took 1,065 votes.

The three winners of the Warren Township Board race were incumbent Angie Landrum, with 89 votes, incumbent Lee J. Schmalzried with 82 votes and incumbent Jack G. Sell with 72 votes. Carl Zinsmeister received 70 votes.

There was only one contested Democrat race, for Huntington 4 Precinct Committeeman. Gary A. Beatty won with 12 votes, besting Marvin R. McNew Sr., who received 10 votes.

Huntington County election officials are pleased with the turnout for the 2018 primary election on Tuesday, May 8, having had no problems with voting machines, vote centers or voters.

County Clerk Kittie Keiffer said the voting went smoothly at all vote centers. At 5 p.m., one hour before the polls closed, Keiffer said the turnout amounted to 23 percent of registered voters who had cast ballots.

“We’ve had a lot smaller turnouts, so we’re going to be happy with the 23 percent,” she said. “It’s been a really good day … it started picking up right around noon as far as traffic coming through. We’re pleased – it started off kind of slow but we’re very, very pleased with what the turnout is.”

The vote centers began dropping off the results shortly after polls closed at 6 p.m. By the time the last precincts were counted, the turnout was 26.64 percent, with voters stepping up to elect the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 6.

At the end of the night, a total of 6,326 people had voted of the 23,745 registered voters in the county.

Keiffer said voters made good use of the vote centers set up across the county for early voting. There were also 2,389 absentee ballots turned in, she reported.

The Huntington First Nazarene Church’s vote center had the best turnout, Keiffer said, followed by the Parkview Huntington YMCA vote center, Huntington County Courthouse and American Legion. The Cottage Event Center in Roanoke and Warren Church of Christ were also open for voting on Election Day.

Keiffer noted that the numbers for this primary cannot be accurately compared with the numbers from the 2016 election year because that was a presidential election year and the turnout tends to be higher.

Among the uncontested races on the Republican side, Chris Newton got 4,958 votes for Huntington County sheriff, Jay Poe got 4,487 for Huntington County surveyor, Terri Boone got 4,637 votes for Huntington County assessor, Rob Miller pulled in 4,548 for Huntington County Commissioner District 1, Todd Landrum received 1,235 for Huntington Council Council District 1, Kendall Mickley got 1,197 for Huntington County Council District 2 and Raymond "Keith" Eller got 1,114 for Huntington County Council District 3.

Sheila Hines garnered 563 votes for the Jackson Township Trustee position. Steve Thomas got 501 votes, Wayne Fox got 498 votes and Larry Lahr got 475 to fill the three slots for Jackson Township Board.

Jay Hammel got 429 votes for Clear Creek Township trustee. For the three seats on the Clear Creek Township Board, Roger Warner garnered 393 votes, Richard Michel had 332 and Eldon Bruner got 328.

Julie Newsome got 206 votes for Dallas Township trustee. For the three Dallas Township Board spots, Kyle Kitt had 175, Eric Powell had 169 and Katherine Yoder had 165.

Kathy Morton got 100 votes for Warren Township trustee.

For the three spots on the Union Township Board, Ron Goetz got 203 votes, Neil Kline had 169 and William Armfield had 135.

Lancaster Township trustee candidate Thomas Allred got 173 votes. The three spots for the Lancaster Township Board saw Linda Couch get 141 votes, Terry Updike took 139 and Richard Keiffer got 132.

The Jefferson Township trustee candidate David Keller got 65 votes. Only two candidates filed for the three spots on the Jefferson Township Board, with Mark Vickrey getting 61 votes and Jon Smith getting 48.

Gary Miller got 47 votes as the lone Polk Township trustee candidate. For the three Polk Township Board spots, Matt Tyner got 43 votes, Renee Eisenhauer got 40 votes and Angie Tyner got 38.

Ashley Tinkle received 45 votes as the lone Wayne Township trustee candidate. Kevin Killen got 40 votes for one of the three spots on the Wayne Township Board.

There were numerous spots on the primary ballot that were not filled by Democratic candidates and some not filled by Republicans. The Democratic and Republican parties have until noon on Saturday, June 30, to fill a vacancy on the general election ballot, due to a vacancy resulting from no candidate being nominated at a primary. Both parties have until noon on Tuesday, July 3, to file a certificate of selection stating that a vacancy on the general election ballot resulting from a vacancy on the primary ballot has been filled.

Independent or minor party candidates have until noon on Monday, July 2, to file a petition of nomination with the clerk’s office for verification of petition signatures.

The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. As in the primary, early voting will be allowed at selected vote centers around the county.