Daily Reporter staff reports
GREENFIELD — The race for county commissioner ended much as it began, with well-wishes between two men who learned throughout the campaign process they were more alike than different.
Republican John Jessup defeated Democrat Brandon Perry in Tuesday’s election, garnering nearly 25,300 votes to Perry’s approximately 9,460 votes.
Jessup will replace Tom Stevens on the three-person board to represent District 1 come Jan. 1; Stevens did not run for re-election.
The board of commissioners is responsible for overseeing the county’s day-to-day operations, including setting ordinances, approving county purchases and overseeing boards, such as the plan commission.
As they campaigned, the opponents admitted they respected the others’ ideas and tended to build off one another’s momentum when they faced off during a debate at the Hancock County Public Library earlier this fall.
Some of their proposals to better county government took on similar themes, including efforts to better transparency through more accessible evening meetings and promises to help local groups working on the contentious proposed fairground project find consensus.
As results streamed in Tuesday night, Jessup said he wasn’t surprised by the race’s turnout; he expected to win because Hancock County is largely Republican.
“I have more (local) votes than Donald Trump,” he said with a laugh.
He’s looking forward to serving Hancock County residents in a new capacity, and he’ll continue to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, he said.
In the next four years, finding a solution to alleviate crowding at the local jail — which might include building a new facility — will be a top priority, Jessup said. He’ll also be ready to help county officials address the proposed new fairgrounds issue, whether that’s tabling the project indefinitely or helping to strike an agreement among the groups involved with the project.
Tuesday night, he thanked his supporters for their encouragement during the campaign.
“I’ll do my best to represent them as well on the commissioners as I did on the council,” he said. “I’ll be their voice.”
Despite his defeat, Perry said he was honored to receive nearly 10,000 votes from residents who wanted him to be their commissioner.
He will consider other offices in the future, he said.
“It was an honor to be a candidate,” Perry said. “I’m proud of the campaign John and I ran.”
Hancock County Commissioner
John Jessup (R);25299
Brandon Perry (D);9459