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Magistrates: Kingsolver unseats Curtsinger

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By Lisa King

Now there is a second member of Shelby County Fiscal Court who won’t be returning next year.

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In a very competitive and hard-fought race in District 5, Democratic incumbent Betty Curtsinger lost to Eddie Kingsolver by 213 votes.

Curtsinger, a magistrate of 12 years, garnered 434 votes (40 percent)  to Kingsolver’s 647 (60 percent) in a rematch of  a race that Curtsinger won by 15 votes in 2006.

Another incumbent, Democrat Mike Whitehouse, won easily in District 7, and John Lewis won a duel among friends to take the Democratic nomination in District 4.

Kingsolver, a Coca-Cola employee of 34 years and a former member of the Triple S Planning and Zoning Commission, said the margin this time was unexpected.

“I was surprised by the margin,” he said, adding that he wanted to thank the people who supported him and also to commend Curtsinger on her efforts as well.

“Betty ran a good campaign, and she worked hard,” he said.

Fielding Ballard III, Democratic Party chair in Shelby County, spoke well of Kingsolver’s campaign efforts, adding that he knew Kingsolver  “and his people had really worked hard this time.”

Curtsinger was not available for comment.

Kingsolver has no Republican opposition in the General Election.

But that can’t be said about another hotly contested race.

 

Lewis wins

In District 4, four Democrats vied for the seat being vacated by the retiring Democrat Cordy Armstrong, who served 25 years, and Lewis will square off against Republican Bill Hedges in the fall.

He earned that right by beating his friends and neighbors Ken Franks, Mike Taylor  and Ray Gunn. All but Taylor, who previously ran for county judge-executive, are newcomers to the political arena.

Lewis came out on top with 35 percent votes (306), followed by Franks (241 votes, 27 percent), Taylor (212. 24) and Gunn (122,  14).

The four had remained on a very friendly footing during the campaign, even vowing to remain friends no matter who won the seat.

One voter said he had a difficult time making a decision who to vote for because he knew most of the candidates, and one was a neighbor and another was a long-time friend.

“I know most of them, so it was pretty tough thinking about it,” said Jerry Spaulding Jr., who voted for Gunn at the Bagdad precinct. “But I think I got the right one.”

Lewis said he was very pleased with the election results.

“I’m real happy right now,” he said. “All the family is here, and we are celebrating.”

Lewis added that the camaraderie he shared with his opponents on the campaign trail was still strong.

“A couple of the guys called me earlier to wish me good luck, and I just talked to Ken Franks,” he said, adding that he intends to invite them all over for a cookout soon.

“They are all good guys and my friends,” he said

Armstrong expressed admiration for all the candidates and said he feels Lewis will make an a good magistrate to fill his seat.

“They are all excellent candidates,” he said. “John is a nice fellow, and he’ll do a good job and take care of the people in District 4.”

 

Whitehouse romps

In District 7,  Whitehouse, who is in his sixth term, defeated Harold Thomas Bryant by a landslide margin, collecting 81 percent of the  vote (557-132).

Whitehouse will face Republican Jeff Carman of Finchville in the fall.

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger said he had the highest regard for all the magisterial candidates.

“I think we had one of the highest quality of candidates we’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “They all worked extremely hard; everyone poured his or her heart and soul into this election, and I am proud of all of them. They are a credit to their party.”

Election officials called voter turnout average.

“It’s been steady for a primary,” said Kathy Bennett, a precinct officer at the East 60 Fire Department in Clay Village.

But to just who headed out to the polls, “average” was a good showing.

Voter Barbara Cook said no matter what  the outcome of the election is, the important thing is that people came out and cast their ballot.

“You maybe don’t get everything that you want,” she said. “But you have to think of the  people that God told us to take care of. We’ve got a responsibility, and you have to get in there [to vote] and that’s the start of it.”

 

Sentinel-News Correspondent Ryan Conley contributed to this article.