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By KEVIN KOELLING
PERRY COUNTY – Whether they won or lost, most of the candidates for county council and commissioners’ seats were upbeat after Tuesday’s election.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Dianne Rudolph, who along with Ron Crawford and Steve Goodson won the three at-large council seats up for grabs. All three are Democrats and the men are incumbents.
Rudolph garnered the highest number of votes in that race, earning 4,569, with Goodson securing 4,445 and Crawford getting 4,425.
Republicans Bernie Bower and Patrick Rich picked up 3,778 and 3,627 votes, respectively.
Rudolph said she’s looking forward to assuming her council role.
“Steve Goodson told me something interesting,” she added. He first joined the council in 1991, “and he served with my dad (who) was on the county council. He said, ‘this has got to be a first, serving with the father and the daughter. Isn’t that funny?”
Goodson said he was very pleased about winning another term on the county’s fiscal body.
“I’m glad the people of Perry County gave me their confidence for another four years,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to serve them and will continue to do my best at every meeting (to) spend their money wisely and efficiently, and try to do the same job I’ve been doing.”
“I think it was a well-run race on all candidates’ part,” Crawford said, “and I’m just very happy to get to serve four more years. Everybody played fair.”
Bower said Wednesday morning Perry County could only win, considering the candidates seeking council seats.
The Republican Party will be re-energized by Lloyd Arnold’s win in the race for the District 74 state-representative seat, he added. “The two-party system is alive in Perry County.”
Bower added that he was moved throughout Election Day in witnessing “that so many people care so much about our country; I was really impressed by the people of our county.”
He plans to run for office again, he said, although he’s not sure which office he’ll seek. “It would just be lip service to show up once, but not again,” he said. “I want to be part of the leadership of the county, but I’m not sure in what role.”
“I guess I was a little surprised and disappointed I lost,” Rich said Wednesday morning. “You always sit back and second-guess what you could’ve done.”
He was grateful for the help he received in campaigning, he said.
“I couldn’t be more humbled by the kind words and support I’ve been given, “ he said. In talking with his wife, Wendy, after results were announced, he said they decided that “to get a little over 3,600 votes … was pretty respectable” considering they moved here six years ago.
Incumbent County Commissioner and Democrat Bill Amos secured nearly 57 percent of the 7,716 votes cast in his race against Republican challenger Brian Steen.
“I’m happy,” Amos said about winning four more years representing District 1. “I’m going to continue working, is all I’m going to do. I want to see that jail finished” and “I want that ADA plan done,” he said about two current efforts to bring county facilities up to date. Construction of a new county jail has begun behind the county courthouse and the council and commissioners have implemented efforts to accelerate the county’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as reported in this and previous editions of the News.
Steen said the election “went pretty well how I thought it’d go,” regarding the county’s favoring Barack Obama in the presidential race. On the local level, “if anything good comes of this, maybe they can implement some of the ideas I had, presented during the forum, as far as getting our population up. That’s the key right now, is our population.”
“Bill ran a great race; he’s a great opponent,” he continued, adding that if he must have an opponent, “I’d rather it be Bill Amos than anybody. He’s a gracious winner, and it was a hard-fought race.”
Democrat Randy Kleaving was unopposed in his bid to become the commissioner for District 3. He’ll replace Jody Fortwendel, who will complete a fourth term as commissioner at year’s end.
Fortwendel opted to seek a county-council seat this year, but was bumped from that race in the primary election.