GREENFIELD — Republicans swept the race for three at-large seats on the Hancock County Council.
On Tuesday, political newcomer Martha Vail and incumbents Debbie Bledsoe and Kent Fisk received the most votes in a six-person race for three open seats on the county council.
All seats on the board, which makes fiscal decisions for the county, are held by Republicans.
Tuesday’s election pitted the Republicans (Fisk, Vail and Bledsoe) against Democrats Rita Johnson and Randy Jones. Zachary LaFavers ran as a write-in candidate.
Of the six candidates, Vail captured the most votes with more than 18,350; Fisk followed with roughly 17,800, while Bledsoe received just more than 17,000.
Vail replaces Republican Randy Sorrell, who vacated the seat to run for county commissioner, a bid he lost in the primary election.
Vail, who spent the weeks leading up to the election greeting voters outside of the county’s early vote centers, admitted she was dragging a bit as she entered the Hancock County Courthouse Annex to watch Tuesday’s results roll in. And she had every reason — she’d been up since 4:30 a.m.
Learning she received the most votes, Vail said she was excited to see what the next four years will bring, and she is happy all of her hard work paid off.
“I worked harder than I’ve ever worked,” she said.
Bledsoe and Fisk said they’re relieved the election is over and say they’re looking forward to another term to continue the good work the council has been doing. In the next four years, they’ll be looking for affordable solutions to alleviate overcrowding at the Hancock County Jail, an issue both cited as a top priority.
Fisk said he didn’t take any shortcuts this election season, making sure he posted signs throughout the county and met as many voters as possible. He’s just now starting to feel like he’s making a difference on the council and wants to continue to serve Hancock County, he said.
LaFavers, a political newcomer, said despite losing (there were only 132 write-in votes cast), he’s not disappointed by the race’s outcome.
At 19, he has plenty of time to win an election and serve Hancock County and beyond, he said. He’s got his eyes set on the next city council election and hopes to eventually serve the entire state.
“I’m taking this as a stepping stone,” he said.
Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Johnson said she felt hopeful about the race — but not confident. She ran to give voters a Democratic choice and hoped her campaign showed voters the local Democratic Party has viable candidates.
Although she didn’t win a seat on the council, she didn’t lose, she said.
She received more than 9,700 votes — more than half the votes her Republican competition received — and received encouragement from the local Democratic party throughout her campaign, she said.
“I feel good,” she said. “What is there to be sad about?”
Hancock County Council At-Large
Debbie Bledsoe (R);17015
Kent L. Fisk (R);17801
Martha Vail (R);18353
Rita G. Johnson (D);9741
Randy R. Jones (D);6485