A planning official will be challenging a longtime incumbent for a Franklin County commissioner seat in the general election.
Melinda Didier of Eltopia led Commissioner Rick Miller with 1,224 votes, or 47 percent, in the first tally from Tuesday’s primary election. Miller, who’s served as a commissioner for eight years, received 1,060 votes, or 41 percent. Mark Kraft was a distant third with 308 votes, or 12 percent.
Election workers tallied about 6,200 ballots Tuesday night which included all the ballots turned in through Monday, according to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office. There’s another 2,000 or so ballots left to count. That put voter turnout at 20 percent.
Didier didn’t return a late call seeking comment on the election results.
Miller said he was disappointed with the initial results but confident he could win in November when voter turnout is higher and residents have more time to learn about him and his challenger.
“I think the Didier name has helped her a lot,” he said, referring to Melinda Didier’s brother-in-law Clint Didier, who is running for Washington’s 4th District congressional seat and played as a tight end on three Super Bowl teams with the Washington Redskins.
Miller has said the county’s financial health has improved since he became a commissioner. A $19.5 million addition to the county jail also was completed recently.
“It’s a good board working together and I hope we can continue that,” he said.
Didier works in Franklin County’s planning department and is chairwoman of the county’s planning commission. She has never run for elected office and previously told the Herald said she has nothing against Miller but that it’s time for a change on the board. She’s been critical of the county’s lack of oversight of ATMs at the TRAC facility off Road 68 and how a public employee embezzled millions of dollars from the county.
Kraft works for Battelle as an electrician. He has said he’s always been interested in politics.
Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald