LANCASTER — There was a glimmer of hope in Mayor Don Rinthen’s eyes shortly before Garrard County’s precincts began reporting their vote counts in the Lancaster mayoral race, but as more votes came in, the numbers continued to stack up against him.
Shortly after 7:30 p.m., Rinthen shook the hand of his newly elected successor, Brenda Powers, congratulating her on her 23-percentage-point win.
“I’m excited,” Powers said shortly after she had won. “I just can’t believe that I got mayor. That is just wonderful. I am just so happy that the people of Garrard County (in Lancaster) believe in me so much.”
Powers said she ran her campaign mainly on foot power, not issues. She has no agenda yet and does not want to form one until she is in office in January, she said.
Powers has said previously she would support increased pay and better working conditions for city employees and would like to work toward having an indoor recreational building for the children of Garrard County.
In order for Lancaster to move forward, citizens will need to become more involved, she said.
“Our city needs to start coming to meetings and they need to start getting to see what’s going on in their city,” she said. “It’s not just my decision.”
Over the next two months, Powers said she will be reading up on laws and regulations she will need to understand as mayor. Rinthen has agreed to offer her advice and help her, she said.
Vote tallies from precincts across the county rolled in pretty smoothly over the course of about an hour at the Garrard County Courthouse. No major problems with voting machines were reported, but at least one precinct was delayed when paperwork was not in order for some voters who showed up five minutes before the polls closed, a polling official said.
Garrard had two contested magistrate races this year for the second and fifth districts. Second district incumbent Republican Doan Adkison held onto her seat with 550 votes to Democrat Mike Carter’s 415 votes.
In the fifth district, Republican Betty Von Gruenigen defeated Democrat Brent Causey 608-333. Von Gruenigen beat out incumbent Magistrate Marvin Conn in the May primary race. Von Gruenigen said she is planning to talk with Judge-Executive John Wilson and other magistrates to get caught up on what’s going on before she takes her seat in 2011.
“I appreciate their (her constituents’) support and their vote very much,” she said. “I live in a wonderful district, in a great place, in a great county.”
Three Garrard constable races also were contested:
n In the second district, Daniel Napier beat Earl Thornton 550-299.
n In the fourth district, Carliss Conlet defeated Wayne Burkhart in a landslide 666-256.
n In the fifth district, Bruce Potter beat Shannon Sizemore 497-333.
While none of the Lancaster City Council seats were contested, the council will still change somewhat in January. Councilmen Jesse Wagoner, Chris Davis and Bret Baierlein will return for another term. Councilwoman Maggie Mick, who was appointed to fill Emily Whitworth’s seat last year, was elected to her seat.
New councilmen Brandon McGlone and Mike Sutton will fill out the remaining two seats, which were left vacant by Powers and former Councilman Jimmy Crutchfield, who stepped down early this year due to health concerns. Leonard Smith, who was appointed to fill Crutchfield’s seat, did not run in the election.
Davis had the most votes with 732, followed by Wagoner with 686, Baierlein with 671, Sutton with 590, McGlone with 554 and Mick with 549.
At the state level, Garrard favored Rand Paul for U.S. Senate over Jack Conway, 3,617-1,693; Andy Barr topped Ben Chandler 3,436 to 1,931 in the race for the 6th congressional seat; and Lonnie Napier beat out Jerome Isaacs for state representative 3,310 to 2,161.
More than 70 percent of the seats up for grabs in Garrard County and Lancaster were uncontested. Judge-Executive John Wilson, Sheriff Ronnie Wardrip, Circuit Court Clerk Dana Hensley and Property Valuation Administrator Kay Hall are among those who won re-election unopposed.
County Attorney elect Mark Metcalf won election unopposed after defeating incumbent County Attorney Jeff Moss in the Republican primary in May. County Clerk Stacy May had faced a write-in challenge from former county clerk employee Elizabeth Lane, but May took 100 percent of the vote to win re-election.