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Obama, Whitfield, Mills win re-election

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Hunting amendment also approved statewide

By Stephen Lega

Nov. 6 was a good night for incumbents on the national, state and local levels.

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President Barack Obama, a Democrat, secured his re-election with 332 electoral votes, well above the 270 needed to retain his seat in the White House. Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 206 electoral votes.

The popular vote was much closer than the electoral tally, however. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Obama won the popular with 62,088,847 votes, or 51 percent of the total. Romney received 58,783,137 votes nationwide, 48 percent of the total. The remaining 1 percent went to third party and independent candidates.

"Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come," Obama said in a victory speech early Nov. 7 in Chicago.

While the campaign featured the kind of negative advertisements and accusations that have become common in presidential elections, both candidates complimented one another in their speeches after the results were known.

"We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future," Obama said. "From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight."

Romney addressed his supporters in Boston after he called President Obama to concede the race and offer his congratulations.

"This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said.

Romney won Kentucky's eight electoral votes after receiving 1,087,136 votes statewide, or 60.51 percent of the total. Obama received 679,357 votes in Kentucky, or 37.81 percent of the total.

The remaining votes were scattered among third party and independent candidates.

Romney also topped the President in Marion County, 3,800 votes to 3,418 votes.

Mills will remain state rep

In the race for the 24th District state representative, incumbent Terry Mills, the Democratic candidate, won again, defeating his Republican challenger Bill Pickerill.

Mills won the district with 9,288 votes, 61.29 percent of the total. Pickerill, a former Lebanon city councilman, received 5,867 votes.

Mills had a particularly strong showing in Marion County, where he received 5,999 votes to Pickerill's 1,257 votes.

Mills said he felt to win he needed to "hold his ground" in Marion County and pick up some votes in Casey County, both of which he was able to do.

"I was surprised actually at the margin in Marion County, surprised, pleased and kind of humbled," he said.

Mills said he's taking the results to mean that the people want him to keep doing what he's doing. In the days after the election, Mills returned to Frankfort for committee hearings. He said he was keeping busy between meetings and picking up yard signs.

Pickerill said he called Mills election night to congratulate him. Pickerill said he has not decided if he will seek office again.

"It's kind of a dream of mine to be in the Kentucky legislature, and that's been put on hold for at least a couple of years," he said.

Pickerill said he learned that candidates need to touch every voter. He said he spent most of his time in Casey and Puluski counties, since he wasn't as well known there, and those turned out to be his strongest areas in the election.

"I thought I would do better in Marion County than I did," Pickerill said.

He also thanked everyone who supported him throughout the campaign, adding that he's made some friends in the process.

"I hope the new legislature can get some things straightened out in Frankfort that need to be tackled," Pickerill said.

Looking forward to the 2013 General Assembly, Republicans picked up four seats in the House of Representatives, but Democrats will remain the majority party with 55 seats.

Likewise, Republicans will remain the majority party in the Senate. They hold 22 Senate seats compared to the Democrats 14. A special election will be held in December to fill the seat recently vacated by former Senate President David Williams, who recently resigned to accept a judicial appointment from Gov. Steve Beshear.

Mills said he's hearing there is interest in looking at House Bill 1, which was aimed at closing down pill mills in Kentucky.

"I'm open to changes, but anything that weakens our approach to trying to do something about drugs, I won't be for that," he said.

He also expects casino gaming, pension reform, tax reform and redistricting to be discussed during the next session.

Whitfield going back to Congress

Marion County was added to Kentucky's First Congressional District earlier this year, but the local results turned out to be a non-factor in the race.

Incumbent Congressman Ed Whitfield, a Republican, cruised to re-election with 199,951 votes. His Democratic opponent, Charles Hatchett, received 87,196 votes.

Hatchett did win Marion County with 3,682 votes, compared to Whitfield's 2,899 votes. Whitfield won the other 34 counties in the First District, however.

Hunting amendment

Kentucky voters also cast their ballots in favor of an amendment that would make hunting a state constitutional right. The amendment won easily with 1,298,334 yes votes compared with 238,320 no votes.

The amendment will not change any of the laws affecting hunting in Kentucky.

Voter turnout

The Kentucky Secretary of State's Office reported that voter turnout was 59.22 percent statewide.

The voter turnout in Marion County was 58.85 percent. Marion County Clerk Karen Spalding said the local turnout was good.

"There were a couple little glitches, but everything went pretty smooth," she said.

She noted that while several local offices were up for election, nearly all of them were uncontested, which may have reduced voter turnout.

Bradfordsville

The Bradfordsville City Commission race looked like it was going to be uncontested, but on the last day possible, Jerry L. Tungate filed to run as a write-in candidate.

In the end, Anthony Clarkson (65 votes), Sandy Gribbins (71 votes), Travis May (69 votes) and Kathleen Walls (56 votes), who were on the ballot, were elected. Tungate received nine votes.

Uncontested winners

In the 11th Judicial Circuit, Shelly Sprague Miller will take over as the Commonwealth's Attorney.

Kim May went unchallenged in her re-election bid as Marion Circuit Clerk.

On the Marion County Board of Education, Rev. DeLane Pinkston (District 1), Mike Cecil (District 4), and Bernard Miles (District 5) had no challengers in their re-election bids.

The Lebanon City Council will remain the same. The sitting council members - Jerry Abell, Denise Fogle, Jay Grundy, Kate Palagi, Jim Richardson and Darin Spalding - were the only candidates who filed to run.

While all the current council members were re-elected, Denise Fogle received the most votes. Traditionally, the council member who received the most votes has been named the mayor pro tem.

Likewise, Tom Brahm, Connie Mattingly, Sammy Medley and Lennie Nalley were the only candidates for the four seats on the Loretto City Commission.

James Alvin Morris, John Louis Morris and Leroy Pile were the only candidates for the Raywick City Commission, meaning there will be one vacancy.

Dudley Friend Adle Jr. received no opposition to become constable in District E (which is the district represented by Magistrate Roger "Cotton" Smothers"). Adle was the first person to run for constable in Marion County since John Angel was elected in 1993. A constable is considered a peace officer with authority to make arrests and serve court papers, but a constable's jurisdiction is limited to his or her district, according to the Kentucky Constables Association.