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The Scoop - Haley, Bell will meet again
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Local elections have a history of being thrillingly close.

Cole Taylor lost by 1 vote in a race for Warren County Commission. Bobby Turner lost by just 2.

Kenneth Rogers, in his first matchup against Carol Hamblen for County Executive, lost by 20 votes in 1998. He rebounded to win their rematch in 2002.

So Joseph Stotts' loss by 23 votes in the Republican Primary fits right in with our rich election history.

After a terribly slow early voting period, we knew two things heading into Tuesday's election: 1) voter turnout would be low, and 2) that would make it very close.

Less than 10% of Warren County's population voted in the race that catapulted Terry Bell past Stotts and one step away from the County Executive's Office. If Bell can beat Jimmy Haley in August, he will assume duties as our County Executive on Sept. 1.

A Haley win would give him his second term. Three of our past four County Executives have served just one term with two of them beaten at the polls and one opting not to seek reelection.

This is a rematch of sorts from four years ago when Herschel Wells Sr. opted not to seek reelection after serving one term. Jimmy Haley, Terry Bell, Ray Hixson and Allie Marie Hyatt squared off for the job.

The final County Executive election results from Aug. 2, 2018:

Haley 3,271 votes 58.4%

Bell 1,604 votes 28.6%

Hixson 592 votes 10.5%

Hyatt 130 votes 2.3%

If you were to operate under the assumption that Bell will collect the votes from Hixson and Hyatt since they aren't running this election, it would put Bell at 41.4% of the vote. However, I don't think you can make that assumption because you can just as easily argue Haley would get those votes.

If those Hixson/ Hyatt votes were evenly divided, it would give Haley 64.8% of the vote and Bell would have 35%. That's based on 2018 numbers.

Probably the most important thing to remember is this is not 2018. It's not even close. So much has changed.

First and foremost, Haley now has a track record as County Executive. He's held the office for nearly four years. Has his performance helped him or hurt him?

Bell is also running as a Republican this time around. Four years ago, he ran as an Independent and Ray Hixson was the Republican in the field. How much of an impact will it have with Bell now as a Republican?

Haley won in convincing fashion four years ago, getting twice as many votes as Bell. Word on the street is this year will be much, much closer. I'm confident Bell will make up ground from four years ago when Haley had a comfortable victory, but I'm not confident it will be enough for him to win.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.