It’s been an election season of close calls and firsts for the Franklin County Commission.
Voters took to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of two commission seats: district 4 and district 5. And, while the tallies will not become official until a voter canvass is complete Tuesday morning, some candidates are celebrating — but others have been left in suspense.
Ianne Dickenson appears to have won Franklin County’s district 4 seat by nearly 100 votes, outstripping incumbent candidate Richard Oglesby 347-254.
“I was excited and humbled,” Dickinson said, thinking back to the moment when she heard the results, though adding she was not surprised by the outcome.
“I knocked on every door of every registered Republican voter – so over 1000 doors – I knocked on every one in the month of July,” Dickinson said. “I’m sure that was the difference, getting out and talking to folks.
Dickinson will also be the first woman to serve on the commission in over a decade. She hopes to use her voice to bring listening skills and a compassionate outlook to the commission.
“I told people, ‘I’m not asking you to vote for me because I’m a woman, but because I’m the best candidate for the job,’” Dickinson said. “I see myself as an advocate for the people.”
She plans to spend the next several months educating herself on the intricacies of county government.
“My next few months are going to be getting as much information as I can, not only about the job, but about everything the county is working on,” she said. “So that I hit the ground running.”
Oglesby expressed his well-wishes for Dickinson.
“I wish Ianne the best, and hope she enjoys the position and the opportunity to serve,” he said. “I’m sure she’ll do fine.”
In contrast to the modest margin of victory in the district 4 race, the contest for the district 5 position is a bit more, well, contested.
With Don Stottlemire and Randall Renoud facing off, the final tally came to 412-410 in favor of Stottlemire.
“There’s not much to say until the canvass is complete,” Renoud, the race’s incumbent, said. “There was a lot of campaigning, and there is a contest. I don’t think that surprises anybody.”
Stottlemire expressed similar sentiments.
“I wasn’t really surprised,” he said. “I told a lot of people I talked to this year, that, ‘This is going to be your year for your vote to count.’ I thought it would be really close, and it was.”
The race will likely be decided when provisional ballots are examined during the voter canvass next Tuesday.
Both candidates were confident at the prospect of governing such an evenly split district.
“The constituency doesn’t dictate the needs of the county,” Renoud said. “The county has to come first, and that might not please the constituents in every case. You listen to them, and you do what’s best for the county. It’s all about providing the best quality of life we can for people in Franklin County. I don’t see that changing.”