Athens County Primary Results
After fierce campaigning in the race for the primary, candidates Chris Chmiel and Charlie Adkins secured the Democratic nomination for two County Commissioner seats and Rex Jeffrey Maiden has won his bid for County Engineer.
With 100 percent of the counties reporting, Chmiel received 2,105 votes (30.95 percent) in the primary, ousting incumbent Mark Sullivan who finished with 1,163 votes (17.10 percent). Chmiel will face Republican Randy Hugh Mace for the commissioner seat in November. Mace was a write-in candidate who needed only 50 write-in votes to be placed on the ballot and received over 200 in early tallies.
Mace has lived in Athens for 60 years and plans to campaign on responsible budgeting and bringing transparency to the position. He said he would like to see commissioners’ meetings become more accessible to the public, and possibly moved to the courthouse to accommodate larger audiences.
“I think about things differently; I see new possibilities, and if somebody tells me ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ that just gets my back up,” he said.
Chmiel cited his positive attitude as the key to his victory.
“I [campaigned] over the last 20 years of my life by working in the community, being a positive person, treating people right and listening to people,” he said.
While celebrating his win with family and supporters, Chmiel received a call from Sullivan congratulating him and offering his support. Chmiel said he is confident that he will be successful again in the November election.
“Democrats are going to pull together, and I’m going to win in the fall,” Chmiel said.
Candidate Paul “Smoke” Barrett raked in 29.39 percent of the votes in the race for Sullivan’s seat, falling just behind Chmiel. Mike O’Brien took 17.45 percent of the vote while Robert Baughman took just 5.10 percent.
In the other commissioner primary, Adkins received 3,344 votes (50.66 percent) in a marginal victory over opponent Gary Edwards who received 3,257 votes (49.34 percent). Adkins is set to face incumbent Larry Payne for the commissioner seat in November.
“I have been successful because of the people around me. It’s not because of what I have done, it’s really about the people pushing me and giving me ideas,” Adkins said.
Adkins said he plans to bring groups together to find solutions to the county’s problems, and will campaign on that.
In the Athens County Engineer race, Rex Jeffrey Maiden won with 5,668 votes or 82.79 percent of the vote, beating incumbent Archie Stanley who finished with only 1,178 votes or 17.21 percent.
“It’s been a tremendous collective effort of probably 100 people that live out in the county who have lived with decaying, unmaintained roads for years,” Maiden said. “We have seen a ground swell of support that came from Republican crossovers who live predominately in the rural areas. I just think that it was time for a change.”
Stanley will likely take office on Jan. 7, 2013. Until then, he will be working at his business and formulating plans for Athens County.
Provisional ballots have not yet been counted by the Athens County Board of Elections. These votes could potentially alter the results in the commissioners’ races as the unofficial totals showed only marginal victories for Chmiel and Adkins Tuesday night.
Emily Maddern contributed reporting.