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By Molly Haines
and John Whitlock
Nearly 60 percent of Owen County’s registered voters took to the polls Tuesday in a big night for Republican candidates locally.
Mitt Romney, the Republican Party candidate for president, carried Owen County by over 30 percent.
Incumbent State Senator for the 17th senatorial district Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, defeated his opponent Democrat David Holcomb and carried Owen County by over a 1,000 votes.
“The number one issue facing Kentucky is reform of the public-pension system,” Thayer said. “... There’s a fund that is in danger of insolvency if we don’t take some major steps in the near future. It’s a difficult issue, but I plan to lead and hopefully achieve success next year.”
Thayer said he is especially proud of the support that he received from Owen County in this year’s election.
“When I first ran 10 years ago, I told the people of Owen County that I wouldn’t forget about them and as long as I represent Owen County I will make sure they have a strong voice in the state senate.”
For the first time since 1992, a new face will represent the 61st district in the Kentucky House of Representatives and this time, the seat will be held by a Republican.
Tuesday night, voters in Owen, Grant and Gallatin counties selected Republican candidate Brian Linder to replace retiring State Rep. Royce Adams in the General Assembly.
Linder garnered about 57.5 percent of ballots cast in his race again Democratic candidate Wanda Crupper Hammons, who had received Adams’ endorsement for his seat.
Linder said his victory reflects the conservative nature of the district.
“Royce Adams is a conservative Democrat and when a conservative Democrat retires, a lot of the time, the people will go with the Republican,” Linder said.
Linder praised the effort of his opponent during the campaign.
“Wanda worked very hard and had a lot of support,” Linder said. “But she has a very unpopular president at the top of her ticket and that hurt her.”
Crupper Hammons could not be reached for comment by press time.
Linder said he will “hit the ground running” when the General Assembly convenes in January.
“My number one priority will be bringing jobs to Kentucky.” Linder said. “We must make Kentucky more friendly to business.”
Linder said the people of Kentucky are anxious to get a representative in Frankfort with a background in business.
Linder said he has seen first hand that Kentucky has not done enough to lure new businesses to the commonwealth.
“I work at Owen Electric and we hear it all the time,” Linder said. “We will get calls about new businesses and they will also be considering other southern states and we often lose these new jobs to other states.”
In Owen County, Linder captured 2,278 votes to Crupper Hammons’ 2,189, a difference of 89 votes.
Linder said the reality of going to the General Assembly is just starting to set in but he pledged to focus on helping the economy and the people of the 61st district as a state representative.
The Republican candidate for Fourth District U.S Representative Thomas Massie, received the majority of the votes in Owen County.
The results for all 20 counties in the fourth congressional district were not final by press time Tuesday.
In the Owenton City Council race, all incumbents but one were re-elected.
Tim Cammack received the least amount of votes, which will make Rita Osborne the newly elected city councilwoman.
Osborne received 17 more votes than Cammack.
Larry Dale Perry, Bobby Walker, Robert “Bob” Osborne, Doris Ann Riley and Gerald Powell will return to their seats on the Owenton City Council.
In the school board race for the fourth educational district, incumbent Dr. Larry Johnson defeated Kitty Stafford Cammack by over 400 votes.
Johnson said now that the race is over, he hopes to concentrate on hiring a new superintendent and tackling the district’s budget issues.
“I hope we can restore some of the state funding and work on redistributing some of the funds we have now to try and give our kids the best education possible,” Johnson said.
Thankful for the support he received, Johnson said he was glad that voters in the fourth educational district had confidence in the job he has done since becoming a school-board member.
“I’d just like to thank everyone that voted for me,” Johnson said. “I think they recognize that I’ve tried to do the best I could when it comes to making decisions that will affect children’s education and I’m going to continue doing that.”
The school board races in the first and third educational districts were uncontested.
In other Owen County races:
• John Hetterman won the race for soil and water conservation district supervisor over Kenneth R. Smith.
Owen County voters strongly supported an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that would protect hunting rights. The measure carried 88.69 percent of the Owen County vote.
The members of the Gratz City Commission will be Earl New with 23.6 percent of the vote; Linda New with 25.4 percent of the vote; Joshua Frazier with 25.4 percent and David Lyons with 25.4. Each candidate will receive a seat on the commission.
In the race for Sparta City Commission, Dale Samuel got 22.2 percent of the vote; Bill Dunavent received 22.2 percent; Bonnie S. Bond took 33.3 percent; and Chad W. Dunavent got 22.2 percent.
In Monterey, each candidate will be a member of the city council. Kathi True received 23.8 percent; Josie Hazlett got 16.2 percent; Charlie Simmons received 21.5 percent; Christine “Kit” Powell won 16.8 percent; and Randy Fitzgerald got 21.5 percent.