Amos, Fortwendel score primary wins

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By Vince Luecke

Sherry defeated; Lynch looks to future elections; county voters give Clinton boost over Obama

PERRY COUNTY - With the nation's eyes fixed on their state's presidential primaries, Perry County voters backed New York Sen. Hillary Clinton Tuesday, helping the White House hopeful eke out a narrow Hoosier win.

In the most-watched local races in the Democratic primary, voters gave William "Bill" Amos a win over incumbent Don Sherry and political newcomer Brent Herzog in the contest for the District 1 seat on the county's board of commissioners.

District 3 incumbent Commissioner Jody Fortwendel held back a challenge from fellow Democrat Bradley Lynch to advance to November's election. Several other races on both Republican and Democratic ballots were uncontested.

Amos Credits Support of Family, Friends

Amos won 13 of the county's 21 voting precincts en route to a 352-vote win over Sherry, denying the Democratic incumbent a chance for a second term. Amos received 2,570 votes, or 47 percent of the total, compared to Sherry's 2,218 votes. Herzog received 619 or 11.5 percent of the votes cast in the race.

Amos was jubilant after final precinct tallies began scrolling across a screen in the commissioners' room.

"I'm happy and thankful for family and friends who helped me," Amos said after emerging from the county courthouse, dressed in one of the burgundy T-shirts he and supporters wore on Election Day.

Amos, who said he was looking forward to a brief break after weeks of campaigning, is already eyeing his fall contest with Republican Brian Steen, who was unchallenged in the primary.

"I hope he's a good candidate," Amos said."

Steen received 369 votes in the Republican primary.

Amos credited much of his support to simply listening to people. "Most people want someone they can talk to and I try to do that," he said.

Though disappointed by Tuesday's results, Herzog had no regrets about his first try for public office. "It's not the outcome I was hoping for but some of the ideas I raised are important and I hope they'll be talked about some more," he said. During the campaign, Herzog voiced support for increasing the number of county deputies and promoting the county hospital.

Sherry said Amos benefited from a well-organized campaign and said he was not bitter about the defeat.

"Bill ran a good, clean campaign, he has good ideas and I think he'll do a good job," Sherry said Wednesday afternoon.

Fortwendel Wins in District 3

Fortwendel shook hands with supporters after winning his primary contest against Lynch. The incumbent received 3,141 votes, 57.7 percent of the total, with Lynch credited with 2,299 votes.

Lynch described his campaign as a positive experience and predicted voters will see his name on a future ballot.

"I'm grateful for the support and we'll do better next time," he said.

Lynch lives in the Doolittle Mills area and said he worked to get his name and ideas known in other parts of the county.

Fortwendel could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Clinton Wins County

Clinton, who won a narrow victory in the state's presidential primary, swept all of Perry County's 21 voting precincts en route to a 3,612-to-1,986 vote victory over Barack Obama.

Clinton received 64.5 percent of the Democrat presidential vote in the county. Obama supporters made themselves heard in the county, holding up signs along 12th Street Monday and visiting polls on Election Day.

John McCain, who has a lock on the Republican nomination for president, won the county in light GOP voting. He received 363 votes. Other White House hopefuls still on the ballot received small numbers of votes.

Jim Schellinger, who lost a very narrow gubernatorial contest against Jill Long Thompson, carried Perry County handily with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Uncontested Races

Three Republican at-large county-council candidates, Jim Adams, Tom Hauser and Bob Ramsbottom, were unopposed in Tuesday's primary. So were Gov. Mitch Daniels and Ninth District U.S. House of Representatives candidate Mike Sodrel.

All four candidates for Indiana House of Representatives seats covering Perry County were uncontested. Incumbent Dennie Oxley will face Steve Davisson in November's District 73 race while Russ Stilwell will face Tell City physician William Marcrum in District 74.

Democratic candidates Jane James was unopposed in her race for county recorder, as was surveyor candidate Glenn Etienne.

Vote tallies arrived quickly Tuesday evening and the final totals were announced shortly before 7:30 p.m. or 90 minutes after the poll closed.

Few voting-related problems were reported during the day. Only a few voters had to cast provisional ballots because they could not provide proper identification.