Local voters don’t stick with parties

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Republicans win most races in a Democratic county

By Geoff Hamill

Democrats outweigh Republicans by more than 2 to 1 in Washington County, but you couldn’t tell it by looking at the totals from last week’s election.

Locally, four partisan races were on the ballot, and three of those four were won by Republicans, despite the number of Democrats registered to vote. According to Washington County Clerk Glenn Black, there are 5,569 Democrats registered in the county, while only 2,252 Republicans are registered. An additional 246 voters were classified as “other.”

Black said he is not surprised at the numbers, especially with this year featuring a presidential election. He said the number of voters choosing “straight ticket” candidates is not as common as it once was.

“I think they don’t vote the party as much as they used to,” Black said. “In the presidential race, you can see it was carried by Republicans, but in the representative race, the Democrats carried it. I think a whole lot less people vote straight ticket than it used to be back a generation before me. I think that’s changed, especially through the younger generation voting now. It looks like they’re listening to both sides now and weighing it out. I think they’re reading a little more and listening more to both sides, rather than just voting the ticket.”

The races of which Black spoke featured Republican John McCain taking Washington by a total of 3,305 votes to 1,890 for Democrat Barack Obama. The only Democrat to win in Washington County was David E. Boswell, who edged Republican Brett Guthrie by a narrow margin of 31 votes, 2,500 to 2,469 in the race for U.S. Representative in Congress, 2nd Congressional District.

In other partisan races, Republican Mitch McConnell (2,826 votes) defeated Democrat Bruce Lunsford (2,316) for U.S. Senator, and Republican Mike Harmon (2,835 votes) defeated Democrat David Sparrow (2,257 votes) for State Representative in the 54th District.

By precinct, McCain carried all but two of the 14 locally in the presidential race, with Obama winning the Housing Project and Health Department precincts.

In the U.S. Senator’s race, McConnell won 10 of 14 precincts, with Lunsford taking the Housing Project, Health Department, New Armory, and Library precincts.

Harmon took 11 of 14 precincts, while Sparrow won the Housing Project, Health Department, and New Armory precincts in the race for State Representative in the 54th District.

The grid above shows complete election results by precinct in Washington County.