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Fayette primary winners and losers have their say

The July 31 primary ended with clear winners in some races, while others will face runoff elections later this month. A number of the candidates were contacted for their thoughts on their campaigns and the results of the election. The comments of those responding thus far are included below.

Barry Babb had a big showing in the race for Fayette County Sheriff, taking home 63.79 percent of the vote. Babb expressed appreciation to his family and to the voters, reiterating his comments during the campaign that he intends to serve in a hands-on capacity.

"I just want to thank everybody who helped and supported this campaign, especially my wife and family," Babb said. "We are blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive community. I am still overwhelmed by the response of the voters and it has instilled in me an even greater desire to work hard to serve our community. The message I received during these two months of campaigning has been to work hard to ensure our quality of life and to be an available hands-on leader. I am anxious to get started and I look forward to working with Sheriff Hannah to make the transition as smooth as possible. Thank you Fayette County."

Sheriff Wayne Hannah took 36.21 percent of the vote in the primary election. Contacted Wednesday, Hannah acknowledged the people involved in his campaign, adding that he was proud of the way it had been conducted.

“I want to thank everyone for their help in my campaign. I ran a clean campaign and I'm very proud of that. I've enjoyed my 38 years serving Fayette County and during the next five months I will approach each day as I have in the last three and a half years,” Hannah said. “It's up to you to hold the new sheriff accountable for his actions while he is in office. Under my service as sheriff, we have won many awards and we are proud of that. I do have to be concerned for some sheriff’s office employees who we’re hearing might not have a job.” 

Fayette County Board of Education Post 1 winner Barry Marchman took 57.49 percent of the Tuesday vote. A statement on his website thanked the many volunteers for their help during the campaign. Marchman said he would spend the next four years being fiscally accountable and promoting high academic standards.

“I want to thank the army of volunteers from so many different groups of people that worked so tirelessly to get out our message,” Marchman said. “I understand that the volunteers and the voters were supporting an idea more so than a personality and I promise to work hard these next four years to represent those ideas of fiscal responsibility, high academic standards, and common sense conservative values on the Fayette County Board of Education.”

Post 1 Candidate Scott Hollowell received 42.51 percent of the primary vote. In a statement on his Facebook page, Hollowell congratulated Marchman and said he would continue his involvement with the Fayette school system.

“I want to let every know that I called Barry last night and congratulated him on his win and to wish him well going forward. I told him if I could ever be of service, just let me know,” Hollowell said. “It has been a very rewarding experience. I am grateful for the new friendships made and the old friendships that were strengthened. I plan on being at the next School Board meeting August 6. I strongly encourage all parents who care about their schools to be at that meeting. We have to stay involved to keep our schools moving in the right direction.”

Hollowell in his statement also thanked a large number of people whose support he acknowledged and appreciated.

Fayette Board of Education Post 2 winner Mary Kay Bacallao came away with 68.14 percent of the vote. Bacallao will face school board member Terri Smith (D) in the November general election.

In her comments on the primary victory, Bacallao spoke about the experience of running, on the upcoming race in November and service to the school system.

"To God be the glory, great things He has done. I am grateful to God for all the wonderful people I have met while running for the Fayette County School Board. I have been impressed with the wisdom, intelligence, and kindness I have seen throughout this experience. We are truly blessed to live in Fayette County where so many people care deeply about our schools. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for all those who have worked tirelessly on this campaign. I have enjoyed getting to know you. That has been the best part," Bacallao said. "I am so appreciative and humbled by your support. I am looking forward to continuing on in this race as we get ready for November. We have something special here in Fayette County, and I hope to have the opportunity to serve our schools and our community on the Fayette County School Board. Thank you for your support, prayers and encouragement. Together we can make a difference."

Fayette BoE Post 2 candidate Gary Griffin in his comments on the primary election said he grew from having gone through the primary process, adding his congratulations to Bacallao and his thanks to the voters who supported his efforts.

"I was glad to have participated. I enjoyed it and grew from the experience, though I don't know if I would do it again," Griffin said. "I'd like to thank the people who voted for me and I'd like to congratulate my opponent."

Charles Oddo defeated incumbent Robert Horgan for the Post 1 seat on the commission and will be sworn in Jan. 1 because there is no Democratic challenger for the November general election.

Oddo said he really enjoyed the campaign and especially appreciates the effort of his family and other supporters who took part in helping get him elected to office. He specifically credited his wife for being by his side, even during the sign waving on the streetcorner when the heat sailed past the 95-degree mark.

“One thing that impresses me about this county is that a lot of people have passion and rightly or wrongly they were involved in the process and they made their two cents known and that’s the good part about this,” Oddo said. “My manner is a lot more low key ... but I think the passion everybody had was good if we can just redirect it a little more positively in the future.”

Oddo said he hoped to help improve relationships between the commission and also get more citizens involved in government, perhaps by streaming the meetings online so more citizens can provide input.

“One of the thins I really hope to do is get more people involved, and listen to them and get their input because there are a wealth of ideas in this county that seem to be sliding by, it seems like an opportunity missed not talking to these folks and getting them to meetings,” Oddo said. “I know people elect us to get up there and do our job and not be bothered with it. But we need help: we’re just commissioners, that’s all, we’re not mind readers. We’re there to serve the people who elected us so I will be looking for people to get in and determine what the community wants and move forward together.”

Oddo said while it is impossible to make everyone happy, things can be improved by increasing communication and understanding.

“When I make a decision it will be based on what is best for the county and its citizens, and not any individual or group,” Oddo said. “... A lot of this is simply communication and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to communicate.”

Oddo said he and the other commissioners will have to look at some tough issues ahead.

“I’m not saying we want to changer everything, but I want to talk a look ... and probably the new commissioners will want to take a look or whomever gets elected. We just want to reassess where we are and kind of get our thoughts together and our citizens thoughts and go down the same path together.”

Oddo said he will work on getting up to speed on how the county functions so he can understand the process and if necessary make any improvements.

Oddo also credited opponent Robert Horgan for his service on the commission.

“He put in about seven years and rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter how I feel about his votes, he was there and he did what he felt was right and he deserves a lot of credit for what he has done in the community,” Oddo said. “I hope after I leave office I wil be able to say I made a contribution to the community as well.”

Post 1 County Commissioner Robert Horgan lost Oddo. Horgan said he was disappointed in the outcome but he proud of his service in seven years as a county commissioner.

"I would say the last seven years I think I have been very productive as a commissioner and have accomplished a lot of things," Horgan said. "I will work as hard as I can to keep the two circus clowns, Randy (Ognio) and (David) Barlow from being elected. I really think I had a good run. I think with my help through the Fayetteville Main Street coordination we were able to do improvements at the courthouse and I was instrumental with the Fayetteville mental health facility and the WIC office here in the county, resolving the sheriff's lawsuit agreement and fights back when (Randall) Johnson was sheriff, and changing how we have an in-house attorney and our policies and everything have been gone through and updated."

Horgan also said while it may have cost him the election, he thinks the West Fayetteville Bypass is a huge accomplishment.

"I think in the long run those were hard decisions and I stuck by my guns on that, and I think it will be beneficial to Fayette County in the long run," Horgan said. "I have been through three different boards with Greg Dunn, Jack Smith and Herb Frady and I was told in the very beginning as commissioner your should leave things better than it was when you got here and I certainly think I have done that. I have matured a lot and grown up a lot and I'm not leaving Fayette County."

Horgan said that he thinks if Ognio and Barlow were to be elected to the commission "it would be a detriment to this county ... neither one of them said anytihg about the issues at all, it's all about bad things. It's about getting things done. It's easy to point fingers."

Post 2 candidate David Barlow will face Sheila Huddleston in a runoff election and said he was really pleased he came in first, but was disappointed he didn't win a majority.

"I was also surprised that Jack Smith got as few votes as he did and that Ms. Huddleston got the amount of votes that she did,:" Barlow said. "I believe that we are well prepared to move forward on the points that I have already talked about: transparency and accountability. We need to have fiscal responsibility, not just talk about it, but we actually need to sit down and address it. Today you can refer to some things that came out, that we are going to be increasing the fire fund and if commissioner Brown is accurate, I haven't had a chance to research it, and we have been kicking the can down the road five yeras you have to ask the question why did that not meet the definition of fiscal accountablity. I understand we don't want to be a drain on the cities that have their own fire department but that is something that needs to be addressed."

Huddleston in her comments said she would not let the citizens down if they elect her in the runoff election. Huddleston said she represents a perspective that includes old-school values combined with new visions and ideas.

"I am humbled and honored by the vote of confidence I received Tuesday night. With your vote and support I am now in the Aug. 21 runoff for the Post 2 seat on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and I can assure you I will not let you down. I will live up to the confidence you have shown in me. I am committed to accountability, fiscal responsibility and open government," Huddleston said. "I want to bring new visions and new ideas to Fayette County, but I am committed to old-school values. I will work to insure that we preserve the quality of life we all hold so dear in this county that we call home. Fayette County is a special place, and we need to keep it that way. That is my commitment to you."

Post 3 candidate Randy Ognio will face incumbent Post 3 commissioner Lee Hearn in the runoff election Aug. 21.

"I've got to thank all my supporters out there," Ognio said. "I know a lot of them did a lot of hard work for me and a lot of them gave financial support, so I've got to thank them all. And we've got to let them know we have two to three more weeks to go and I won't stop 'til we're finished."

Ognio said he would continue to stick to the issues even though bloggers have started with personal attacks.

"Personally I believe that if we stick with the issues, we'll win," Ognio said. "Just please get out and vote August 21."

Hearn, who will face Ognio in the runoff election, said he looked forward to the challenge of the next three weeks.

"I would really love the opportunity to have an open debate with Mr. Ognio sponsored by the chamber or the Rotary Club," Hearn said. "I would make myself available anytime they can work that out to talk about the issues. I look forward to a positive issues-based informative campaign. ... I don't indulge in attack-oriented politiics and I haven't in the past and I won't in the future."



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