The red wave definitely caught Warren County in its current on Election Night. Republicans were strong on Thursday, but not overpoweringly dominant as some expected.
GOP candidates won three of the four hotly contested countywide races Thursday for County Executive, Sheriff and District Attorney General.
The biggest surprise of the night was Terry Bell. Not that Terry won, but that he won with 60.5% of the vote over incumbent Jimmy Haley.
Despite a strong GOP showing, Bart Stanley was returned to Circuit Court Judge as an Independent over Republican Scott Horton.
When it comes to the Warren County Commission races, there were 18 declared Republicans running in the 12 districts.
Of those 18 Republicans, there were 11 who won. That amounts to a success rate of 61.1%.
When it comes to Democrats running for Warren County Commission, there were five declared candidates. Of those five, there were two who won. That amounts to a success rate of 40%.
So Republicans running for Warren County Commission were 21.1% more successful than Democrats fighting for those same seats. It should also be noted that the two Democrats elected to the County Commission were incumbents, Gary Prater and Steve Glenn, and not political newcomers. No Democrat seeking office for the first time won.
The Republicans had six candidates successfully elected to their first term on the County Commission -- Kenny Moffitt, Scott Kelly, James Hines, Chris Rippy, Cam Montgomery and Scottie Keel.
Independents were more successful than Democrats or Republicans in getting elected to the County Commission. Of the 17 Independent candidates running, 11 were elected, 64.7%
ELECTION DAY HIBERNATION
Voter turnout continues to sputter thanks in large part to only 3,450 people voting on Election Day.
After early voting numbers were released and showed 5,486 people voted early, there was talk the number of votes could exceed 10,000 with a steady Election Day. Instead, the total number of voters didn’t even reach 9,000 as it was a sleepy Thursday at the polls.
More than 60% of Warren County voters took advantage of the early voting option, the second time in the last three elections the early voting percentage surpassed 60%. I’d look for that number to only get larger as the convenience of early voting can’t be beat.
I wouldn’t look for early voting to dip below 50% of the total turnout ever again.
“Election Day turnout was lower than I expected,” said election administrator Susie Davenport. “I thought we would get closer to doubling early voting. We did 5,486 in early voting. I thought we’d get close to that on Election Day, but it was 3,450. We didn’t get close. Maybe this is the new trend or maybe it’s apathy. People don’t go vote. They have the right to, but they choose not to exercise that right.”
WANTED: MORE INTEREST
In a county of 40,953 people, we have 22,132 registered voters. That’s 54% of our population registered to vote. Those aren't awful numbers considering 23% of our population is under 18 and not eligible to vote.
But of those registered voters, only 8,936 exercised their right to vote in this election. That translates to 40.3% voter participation, which I consider a very poor showing with crucial offices like Sheriff and County Executive at stake and early voting available for 14 days.
If you look back less than two years ago to November of 2020, there was 76.6% voter turnout for the election that saw Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump for president.