Smooth sailing for Westside incumbents

       No major surprises popped up in state or county candidate races or local ballot issues affecting the Westside in the Nov. 4 election. With Bristol Elementary a polling place Nov. 4, students
from Jackie Thompsonís fifth-grade class stand in front of
their school along Walnut Street, reminding a passing motorist to vote. Inside, students held a mock presidential election.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Incumbents representing all or parts of the Westside were easily re-elected - District 3 County Commissioner Sallie Clark (second term), District 18 State Rep. Michael Merrifield (fourth term) and District 21 State Rep. Bob Gardner (second term). All but Merrifield, a Democrat, are Republicans.
       Winning the District 12 State Senate seat was Republican Keith King, a former District 21 state representative who had left that office after 2006 because of term limits.
       Four ballot issues failed that could have reduced local taxes (City Questions 200 and 201) or raised them (County Question 1A and School District 11 Question 3E).
       Clark said she was pleased with keeping her commissioner seat by defeating first-time Democrat opponent Pam Berry, but noted on the other hand that because of the ailing national economy and the county's tight budget, "it's a challenging time to be reelected."
       She pointed to the 2009 county budget, which calls for cutbacks that she said will result in fewer Sheriff's deputies, slower criminal prosecution and reduced Health Department services, for examples.
       A major supporter of 1A, which sought a 1-cent sales tax to help with city and county police and fire costs, she was disappointed by its defeat. "We have to regroup and go back to the drawing board, to find something better in terms of what voters will approve," she said. "I'm anxious to hear from the public about why they did and didn't vote for it."
       Gardner beat Democrat Anna Lord by almost the same margin he had when they first ran against each other in 2006. Merrifield has won by increasingly larger margins over Republican challengers in each election since 2002.
       Here are the final results of the above contests:
       D-3 County Commissioner
       (4-year term)
       Sallie Clark (R) - 37,130 (66.0%)
       Pam Berry (D) - 19,135 (34.0%)
       D-12 State Senate
       (4-year term)
       King (R) - 29,012 (55.9%)
       Pete Lee (D) - 22,827 (44.1%)
       D-18 State Rep.
       (2-year term)
       Michael Merrifield (D) - 16,736 (63.2%)
       Katherine Szot (R) - 9,730 (36.8%)
       D-21 State Rep.
       (2-year term)
       Bob Gardner (R) - 19,065 (58.3%)
       Anna Lord (D) - 13,586 (41.7%)
       Question 200
       For - 61,601 (40.2%)
       Against - 91,788 (59.8%)
       Question 201
       For - 69,671 (45.5%)
       Against - 83,289 (54.5%)
       Question 1A
       Yes - 95,810 (40.0%)
       No - 143,633 (60.0%)
       Question 3E
       Yes - 41,102 (43.5%)
       No - 53,418 (56.5%)

Westside Pioneer article