Friday, November 9, 2012

Incumbent Ramsey wins 4 more years

England made his best showing yet in sheriff’s election


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey responds on Thursday to questions about the election. Ramsey got voter approval on Tuesday to serve another four years as the county’s top police officer. Photo by David N. Seelig

Hailey police Lt. Steve England made his strongest showing yet in three election attempts to become Blaine County’s sheriff, but fell several hundred votes short of knocking off incumbent Sheriff Gene Ramsey in Tuesday’ general election.

When all the votes were counted Wednesday morning from Blaine County’s 16 precincts, Ramsey, a Republican, had 4,970 votes compared to 4,176 for England, who ran as an independent. Write-in candidate Larry Clark, who serves as Bellevue marshal, received 457 votes.

By percentage, Ramsey received about 52 percent of the 9,603 total votes cast. England scored nearly 44 percent while Clark received almost 5 percent.

It was Ramsey’s first election as sheriff. Formerly the county’s chief deputy, Ramsey was appointed sheriff upon the retirement of former Sheriff Walt Femling in 2011.

“I’m feeling pretty good today—I’m a little tired, but I feel pretty good,” Ramsey said Wednesday. “I suspected it would be closer than in the past, but I still got almost 9 percent more than Steve. But I stand by my record and I think people took that into account.”

England did not return a telephone call to the Idaho Mountain Express by press deadline Thursday.

His 43.5 percent showing in Tuesday’s election surpasses vote totals from two previous attempts to become sheriff.

In 2004, England ran as a Republican in the primary election against Femling and was defeated 823 votes to 308 votes, or by a percentage margin of 73 percent to 27 percent.

England narrowed the gap against Femling four years later when he ran for sheriff as an independent. In the 2008 general election, Femling received 6,425 votes, or 63.5 percent, to England’s 3,678 votes, or 36.5 percent.

Tuesday’s election was the second time Clark has ran against Ramsey. In the May primary election, in which only registered Republicans were allowed to vote in the sheriff’s race, Clark, a Republican, was defeated by Ramsey 544 votes to 249 votes.

Clark said Wednesday that he’s “OK with the results.”

“I’m not upset about the results,” he said. “I knew it would be a hard run as a write-in. I’m extremely pleased with the number of people who took the time to write my name in.”

Clark said he may try again in four years.

“It’s highly possible,” he said. “I’ve got four years to think about it. It was a very good experience.”

Ramsey said he’s relieved that the election is over.

“I was glad to win and I will serve the next four years and I will serve the citizens of Blaine County for the next four years because I know who I work for.

“Now that the election is over, we can get back to the business of government and keep it moving. I basically thank everybody for voting. It was a good election because people were engaged.”


Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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