Cris RitchieandBailey Richards
November 6, 2012
HAZARD Media outlets are now reporting that President Barack Obama has won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney during Tuesday's general election.
It was widely expected that Romney would easily carry Kentucky and the Commonwealths eight electoral votes, and he did. Romney was declared the winner in Kentucky just after 7 p.m., though at the Herald's press time several states had yet to report totals.
Mr. Obama, who in 2008 made history when he became the nations first African American president, has been extremely unpopular in Kentucky during his presidency, and specifically in the eastern part of the state where coal mining interests remain prevalent. He did, however, maintain a slight lead in most polls leading into the election.
President Obama was later declared the winner of the presidential race at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday.
Here in Perry County, where voter turnout was estimated at 50 percent, Romney handily won the vote, garnering 8,040 votes to President Obamas 2,047, according to unofficial results released Tuesday evening.
In local races, former Perry Commonwealths Attorney John Hansen will be returning to public office after narrowly pulling out a win over incumbent Teresa Reed, who lost her bid for re-election on Tuesday by a margin of only 98 votes.
Hansen previously served in the office from 2000 to 2006, and won Tuesdays election by a total of 4,916 votes to 4,818.
Hansen was actually behind by 15 votes before the final precinct in Krypton, a majority Republican precinct, reported.
The Republicans came through in the Krypton precinct, Hansen said. I have known most of the Republican families up there for 20 years. When you stick together and have integrity, it shows.
Hansen added that he is ready to begin work as the countys chief felony prosecutor and address the local drug problem.
I am ready, he said. Look, I know Perry Countians. They are good people, they are hardworking people, and they need a little bit of respect (and) they are not getting it. When you have a pill problem as invasive as we have here in Perry County, and all we are doing is hugging everybody, then that doesnt go away.
Perry County will also have a new circuit clerk come January as Democrat Charles Patterson handily won against Republican Tom Eckert. Patterson was seeking his first term in public office, and said he plans to work to make the clerks office more efficient.
I feel very fortunate, Patterson said after his win on Tuesday. I have a great family who has let me take this great leap of faith, and this leap was easier because I knew that I had their support. We just went out and worked hard. When we first filed, my wife and I sat down and worked on a strategy, and we stuck to our plan and were successful with it. From here, my first task is that I want to learn every single job in that clerks office, and work every day to make a better office, not only for the people of Perry County but for the employees. I want them to have a good place to work. I want to make a more efficient office, and it wont be done overnight, but every day well come closer to a better office.
Patterson was the top vote-getter for Perry Countys local candidates, defeating Eckert 6,073 votes to 3,718.
The city of Hazard will have a new commissioner on the city commission following Tuesdays election. With five candidates in the race, the top four vote-getters each won a seat.
Current Commissioner Lou Ella Farler opted not to run for re-election this year, leaving her seat vacant. The three remaining incumbents Dr. Fitz Gilbert, Jimmy Lindon, and Donald Happy Mobelini did run for re-election and each won another term in office.
The top vote-getter in the race was Ricky Steele, who received 1,186 votes along with a seat on the commission. It will be his first term in public office.
Lindon received the second highest amount of votes with 1,088. He was followed by Mobelini with 1,043, Gilbert with 991, and William Hall with 599.
Steele met with supporters at the La Pena restaurant in Hazard following the election, and though he declined to comment on any specifics, he did say that he was excited to begin working for the citys residents.
I didnt know what to expect when I went into this, but its a good feeling to know that youve got a lot of support out there, he said.
In the city of Vicco, Mayor Johnny Cummings won his first full term in office on Tuesday, defeating former mayor Ernest Back by a final tally of 86 to 36.
Other races on the ballot included one for U.S. Representative. Longtime Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican, easily won re-election in the 5th Congressional District over Democrat Kenneth Stepp. Rogers won Perry County by a total of 7,647 to 2,183.
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott also won re-election over challenger Janet Stumbo. Scott carried Perry County 4,535 votes to 3,747.
Several other candidates were on the ballot, though they ran unopposed. State Rep. Fitz Steele won a new term in the state House of Representatives. Charlene Miller, Debbie McIntosh, and Jerry Stacy each won re-election on the Perry County Board of Education, while Ralph Asher, Grady Varney, and Lisa Townes will continue serving for the Hazard Independent Board of Education.
Finally, a proposed amendment to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right in Kentucky was approved as well. In Perry County, 7,698 people voted in favor of the amendment, while 845 voted against.