Republicans sweep county commissioner race

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gage high vote getter

The Polk County Board of Commissioners has a new majority.

Republicans swept the three open seats during Tuesday’s election with Michael Gage taking the top spot, according to unofficial election results.

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Gage, incumbent Tom Pack and Keith Holbert won over democratic challengers Emily Bartlett, incumbent Renée McDermott and Russell Mierop.

This is the first election in many years that republicans swept all vacant positions on the board of commissioners. During the 2008 election, democrats swept the three open positions. During the 2010 election, the county selected two republicans, Pack and Ted Owens and one democrat, Ray Gasperson.

Gage was top vote getter Tuesday with 5,545 votes followed by Pack with 5,442 votes and Holbert with 5,376 votes.

Bartlett received the most votes for the democrats with 4,550 followed by McDermott with 4,391 and Mierop with 4,139.

Holbert won the race over any democrats by an 826-vote margin over Bartlett.

Gage and Pack won four-year terms and Holbert will serve a two-year term.

Gage previously served one term as a Columbus Town Council member but this was his first bid in a county election.

Gage said he is excited about winning and especially about being the highest vote getter.

“I want to thank the citizens for making the right choice to guide Polk County through the next four years,” said Gage.

Pack will be serving his second consecutive term but previously served another four-year term several years ago.

“I just thank everybody for voting and look forward to serving the citizens again,” said Pack. “And it’s my honor to serve. I will always listen to what the people want.”

Holbert, a political newcomer also said he will work to serve everyone in the county.

“I want to thank everybody for all their support,” Holbert said. “I will do my best to serve everybody in the county.”

The commissioner elects will join commissioners Owens (R) and current chairman Ray Gasperson (D).

Official results will not be known until Nov. 16 when the Polk County Board of Elections does its final canvassing of votes.

Commissioners are sworn into office during the county’s first meeting in December.