By MATT KOESTERS
CLARK COUNTY —
The Republican Party will control the Clark County Board of Commissioners.
In District 1, first-time Republican candidate Rick Stephenson defeated three-term Democratic incumbent Ed Meyer, getting 23,065 votes, or 51.7 percent, to Meyer’s 21,569 votes, or 48.3 percent.
“It means a whole lot of work’s involved,” Stephenson said. “Moreso, it also means a lot of change in Clark County government and lot more innovation in the way we think.”
In District 2, former Republican county Councilman Jack Coffman defeated Democratic incumbent Les Young. Coffman got 22,972 votes, or 51.8 percent, to Young’s 21,407 votes, or 48.2 percent.
“I just want to thank everyone. This has been such a stressful night, and we knew that the people of Clark County were looking for something different,” Coffman said. “There was some discontent, and just want to be the candidates that are going to do their best to turn this county around, and that’s what the voters wanted to hear.”
Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Bottorff was unhappy with the result.
“I think that the citizens of Clark County suffer, because we took two great public servants out of office,” Bottorff said.
It’s the first time in history that the Republican Party will have control of the board, Coffman said. The News and Tribune could not verify the claim before press time.
“This is the first time that I know of that we’ve had the position to do that, and we’re going to do our best to do a great job for the citizens of Clark County,” Coffman said. “I promise them, we will do better here in Clark County.”
Stephenson said he considers Coffman his teammate, and was thrilled that the two would become commissioners together.
“I can’t even tell you how good that is, because Jack and I have a great working relationship,” Stephenson said. “We’ve worked together throughout the campaign. We’ve done throughout the campaign, and we are a team. That’s what we’re going to need to fix Clark County and take it from this place where it is now and make it the jewel that it’s going to be in Indiana.”
Stephenson and Coffman both plan on a thorough examination of the county’s finances before taking any immediate action.
“Basically it’s going to be just trying to figure out exactly where we can identify things that need to be changed, the cost-saving measures we have and — don’t take it wrong — it won’t be the first month,” Stephenson said. “Let’s look at the first quarter, because I’m not going to be short-sighted enough to jump in and start changing things [where] I have no idea what’s going on.”
Coffman wished Young well.
“I want to thank Les Young for the great job that he’s done as a commissioner,” Coffman said. “I appreciate him for the work that he’s done for the people of this county.”