Incumbents keep seats in county race
by Courtney Price
Lincoln County Commissioners Carrol Mitchem and Alex Patton will hold onto their seats for four more years. Crouse resident Cecelia Martin also earned a seat on the board.
The three defeated Denver residents Martin Oakes and Larry Turbyfill as well as Crouse resident Mike Davis in the Tuesday, May 8, primary. Since no Democrat filed to run against the six Republicans, the three primary winners automatically win the seats.
Mitchem, of Vale, stood significantly ahead of the other candidates with 6,504 votes, or more than 22.22 percent of the 29,276 votes cast in the commission race.
“I feel humbled by the fact that I got that amount of votes,” Mitchem said. “I think it makes it clear what people want and what they expect from elected officials. I’ve stood up for and expressed my opinions, and voters showed they want some change in Lincoln County government.”
Martin was second with 18.54 percent (5,429 votes), and Patton finished third with 17.86 percent (5,225 votes).
Of the other three candidates, Oakes earned 16.06 percent (4,704), Davis earned 13.76 percent (4,032) and Turbyfill finished with 11.56 percent (3,385).
Patton, who has served as commission chairman for the last four years, said his leadership role made him a target during this election.
“I knew I was in jeopardy, but that’s a chance I was willing to take,” Patton said. “I appreciate the county re-electing me. Now it’s back to business as usual, trying to keep taxes low and bring business to the county.”
Martin, who lost in a 2010 runoff election against Jim Klein, said she’s ready to work hard.
“Since there’s no election in November, I have lots of time to learn about the issues and bring myself up to speed,” she said. “I’d like to see a positive change to the commission and look for the good things in Lincoln County.”
Commissioner George Arena, of Denver, chose not to run for re-election this year. His term expires at the end of 2012.
The primary drove 19,906 voters in Lincoln County to the polls, a 39 percent voter turnout.