Mason and McChesney win county races, fire levies and wine issues pass

By Alberta Stojkovic - For Morrow County Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Two incumbents were defeated Tuesday in Morrow County races while two local fire levies and four Cardington wine issues passed. The countywide Morrow DD failed for the second time within a year.

“Wow, what a night!” was the first response of Conni McChesney as she reflected on getting the results of the primary election Tuesday where she received 3,197 votes while incumbent Pat Davies received 2,744.

McChesney the Controller at Morrow County Hospital will be the new Morrow County Auditor in March 2023 since there were no Democrat candidates. She thanked all the citizens who supported her over the past year and all who voted for her.

“I’m excited for the opportunity and plan to do research in auditors’ offices in other counties as well as in Morrow County and I’ll be attending training courses for auditors.”

Jon Mason will begin his term as Morrow County Commissioner in the first week of January in 2023 since there were no Democrat candidates for the Commissioner’s seat.

Mason presently serves as treasurer for the Cardington and Highland School Districts. He received 4,257 votes while incumbent Tom Whiston received 1,654 votes.

“This campaign has been quite the experience…Everyone has been so supportive. It is truly a grassroots feeling,” Mason said. “This resounding vote was a mandate for the change needed. I will certainly do my best.”

“I look forward to getting into the work ahead and doing what’s best for Morrow County,” Mason said.

Both Davies and Whiston were gracious in defeat. Davies congratulated McChesney and pledged to “work towards a smooth transition in March 2023,” then thanked all who supported and voted for her.

Whiston thanked all who voted for him since he began as County Commissioner in 2011. He congratulated Mason on his victory and wished him well “in obtaining the best outcomes possible for our Morrow County residents.”

Two local fire issues pass

Big Walnut Fire Chief Ben Lovell was pleased with the passage of the Big Walnut Joint Fire District tax levy. The two mill levy is a replacement of a permanent levy passed in 1998. The present 2 mill levy is now collecting only .6 in millage. The passage of the replacement levy will restore the levy to the full 2 mills.

Lovell said the replacement levy will fund additional fire fighters to staff the Marengo department 24/7, which will increase the response time. Improvements are also planned for Chester Township. The levy passed 619 to 483.

“We have great community support and support of our board and elected officials,” Lovell said.

Mount Gilead Fire Chief Chad Swank said, “It is satisfying after all the hard work my guys did with the pancake breakfast and fire levy. Our community support is just the best.”

Swank looks forward to being able to hire staff since staffing has been low the last few years. In addition the fire department will be able to maintain and replace fire hoses that are from the 70’s and 80’s. They have been deteriorating and sometimes break down when they are in use. They will also be able to purchase electronic equipment that has been failing.

The Mount Gilead Fire Income Tax passed with 358 for and 313 against.

All four of the Cardington wine issues passed while the Morrow DD issue failed with 3,160 for the levy and 4,256 against.

Morrow DD Superintendent Nancy Foglesong said, “We are very disappointed that we fell short of the votes needed to pass the levy. However, we do understand these uncertain times are a challenge for everyone.”

Foglesong said the Morrow DD Board and leadership staff will evaluate the levy results and determine their next steps. They welcome input from the community as they go forward.

Board of elections Director Penny Porter said the voter turnout for the primary was 30-32 percent of registered voters with 5.30 percent voting absentee or early. She said a low turnout is typical for a primary election. It has been as low as 22 percent turnout a few years ago.

Board of Elections member Tim Sharrock said voting on Tuesday went smoothly in all 33 precincts in the county.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For Morrow County Sentinel