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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Campbell County Primary Voters Give Mandate to Incumbents on Fiscal Court

A crowded Republican primary field in Campbell County cleared up the picture for how the ballot will look in November and in large part, the Fiscal Court's current makeup will almost mirror its current status.

County Clerk, Jim Luersen, told Fort Thomas Matters that the turnout for the primary voters was 13.5% or 9,961 voters. That was down from the last countywide primary in 2014, which saw a 20% turnout and 13,359 voters. The total number of registered voters increased 8,324 during the last four years.

Judge Executive Steve Pendery retained the right to run for re-election in November by beating first time candidate, Anna Zinkhon of Camp Springs by a 54.58% to 45.42% margin. Pendery, who was watching the results in the Fiscal Court Chambers in Newport with his family, held a comfortable lead all night.

"Running for office is not for the feint of heart," said Pendery. "It takes commitment and everyone who was on the ballot should be congratulated."

Pendery will face Democrat, Calvin Sidle, and Independent, Charlie Coleman, in the general election in November. Coleman, who switched his official party status from Republican to Independent before this year's filing deadline, have had a contentious relationship in the past. Coleman is the sitting County Commissioner in District 2, having won that seat in 2014.

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Despite multiple attempts, Coleman has not been able to be reach for comment. At a Campbell County Republican meeting in Newport, executive member, Larry Robinson, told the group that Coleman felt like the party had abandoned him and that was the reason why we switched affiliations.

The the District 1 race, incumbent Brian Painter batted away three contenders led by Dave Fischer of Fort Thomas. Painter, who trailed Fischer through most of the evening, got a late push by later reporting precincts in the south end of Campbell County to push him over the top. With just 10 precincts to go, he jumped Fischer to get his first lead of the night and finished with a margin 35.38 to Fischer's 28.87%. Former county Judge Executive, Lloyd Rogers, had a strong showing at 25.77% and first-time candidate, Tyler Owen, received 9.97%.

Painter will face Democrat, Connie Grubbs from Fort Thomas in the general election in November, as well as Independent, Dave Guidugli, who also switched his party affiliation from Republican to Independent.

The District 2 race pitted a two faces and an Campbell County stalwart against each other. Newcomer, Geoff Besecker beat Pete Garrett by a margin of 43.97% to Garrett's 32.28%. Jerry Gearding received 23.75% of the vote. Besecker faced similar deficits to Painter after the first 50 precincts reported. Then, just as Painter received a boost from the southern end of Campbell County, Besecker's roots in the south end helped him to his victory.

Besecker does not have a general election, so he will be sworn into his commissioner seat on January 1, 2019.

The District 3 race was not much of a race at all. Incumbent, Tom Lampe, raced out to an early lead over Jim Livers and didn't look back. Lampe, who was in the Fiscal Court Chambers watching the results, received 74.28% of the vote to Livers 25.72% for the second highest margin of the night.

A similar result in the Jailer race, as Jim Daley handily defeated Chris Maloney, by the largest margin during the primary by a 75.28% to 24.72% margin.

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Races that will be on the general ballot in May include the District 24 State Senate race (Wil Schroder, incumbent, vs. Rachel Roberts), the District 68 State House race (Joe Fischer, incumbent, vs. Jason Kilmer),  the District 67 State House Race (Dennis Keene, incumbent, vs. Bob Schrage) Campbell County Commonwealth's Attorney (Michelle Snodgrass, incumbent, vs. Justin Fortner), the Circuit Court race (Dan Zalla, appointed incumbent, vs. Derek Durbin), U.S. House District 4 race (Thomas Massie, incumbent, vs. Seth Hall) as well as multiple mayor, city council and commission races.

PHOTO (L to R): Jim Daley, Jailer, Steve Pendery, Judge Executive, and Tom Lampe, District 3 County Commissioner, were all smiles after the results rolled into the Campbell County Fiscal Court Chambers. FTM file. 

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