Whiteside County Board tilts Republican; five Democratic incumbents appear to be ousted

Voters line up outside of the Whiteside County Courthouse in Sterling Tuesday evening, waiting to vote in the general election.

MORRISON – If the unofficial vote tallies hold, five Whiteside County Board incumbents were unseated Tuesday, all five Democrats, and the balance on the board shifted to a Republican majority.

Two incumbents in District 1, Fidencio Hooper-Campos and Owen Harrell; and three in District 2, Karen Nelson, Katherine A. Nelson and George P. Kelly, seem to have been outvoted, although Nelson appears to have missed the ninth spot by only 35 votes, just behind Brhenan Linke, a Republican and first-time board candidate.

In all, seven newcomers – one Democrats and two Republicans in District 1, three Republicans in District 2, and one Republican in District 3 – also won spots.

One District 2 newbie did not run in the June primary.

Barry Cox, a Republican and former Sterling City Council alderman, was slated by the party because it did not have the full complement of nine Republicans at the time, County Clerk Dana Nelson said.

That didn’t seem to adversely affect him. Cox was the district’s second-highest vote-getter, behind only longtime board member Doug Wetzell.

Again, if the numbers hold, that means there will be 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats on the board.

The current balance is 15 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

Election results will be certified within in two weeks, Nelson said.

As is required after every U.S. census, all 27 Whiteside County Board seats, nine in each district, were on the ballot.

Of the 27 candidates seeking to fill 18 spots in District 1 and 2, 17 were incumbents. The top nine vote-getters in each district will get a seat at the table.

District 3 had only nine candidates, and so all were winners, although Brian Melton will be disqualified, and the board will need to replace him with another Republican.

Melton, Morrison’s former chief of police, recently took the job of city administrator, and so by state stature he cannot serve on the board.

The unofficial results:

District 1 (*unoffical winners)

*Joan Padilla (D) (i), 3,371

*Kurt E. Glazier (R) (i), 3,230

*James C. Duffy (D) (i), 3,142

*Sally Douglas (R), 2,924

*Thomas L. Ausman (D) (i), 2,875

*Alex Regalado (D), 2,820

*Michael J. Clark (R), 2,802

*Thomas P. Witmer (R) (i), 2,776

*Ernest Smith (D) (i), 2,727

Fidencio Hooper-Campos (D) (i), 2,634

Terry Woodard (R), 2,614

Owen Harrell (D) (i), 2,529

Christine Romesburg (D), 2,518

Sean M. Bond (D), 2,506

District 2 (* unoffical winners)

*Douglas Wetzell (R) (i), 3,677

*Barry L. Cox (R), 3,153

*Matt Ward (R) 3,117

*Brooke Pearson (R) (i), 3,102

*Linda Pennell (R) (i), 3,080

*Glenn C. Truesdell (D) (i), 2,851

*Shawn Dowd (D) (i), 2,809

*Paul J. Cunniff (D) (i), 2,703

*Brhenan Linke (R) 2,637

Karen Nelson (D) (i), 2,602

Katherine A. Nelson (D) (i), 2,565

George P. Kelly (D) (i), 2,380

Cody Dornes (D), 2,130

District 3 (all nine win)

Sue Britt (D) (i), 3,341

Daniel L. Bitler (D) (i), 3,136

Glenn A. Frank (R) (i), 4,276

Martin Koster (R) (i), 4,225

Mark Hamilton (R) (i), 4,476

Larry Russell (R) (i), 4,210

Chad Weaver (R) (i), 4,433

Douglas E. Crandall (R), 3,904

Brian Melton (R), 4,805

(i) designates incumbent

The newly minted County Board will hold an organizational meeting where names will be drawn to determine which board members will start with two-year terms and which will serve four-year terms.

All terms will end in 2032, when the post-census process will return.

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.