Title still up for grabs in District 4

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2004

LINDEN-The race for Marengo County Commission District four has come to abrupt halt with two of the three candidates still with a chance to walk away with the title of Marengo County Commissioner.

The incumbent George Baldwin, who has served as commissioner for the previous eight years and Calvin Martin, who challenged for the title four years ago, only to lose in a run-off against the incumbent are remaining with only one precinct left to count and that precinct is the provisional ballots.

The Marengo County Circuit Clerk Rusty Nichols said a provisional ballot is an absentee ballot that has a mistake or either is missing some identification and has to be hand counted and then approved by the Board of Registrars. He also said he didn’t know the current amount of provisional ballots that were left to be counted.

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“They have to wait five days before they even open the provisional ballots and that’s why the race has been put on hold because we need all the votes in,” Nichols said.

After Tuesday’s elections, that saw Martin receive 698 votes (50.22 percent) and Baldwin receive 458 votes (32.98 percent), Baldwin only needs six more votes to cause a run-off and that has Martin worried.

He said he wanted to be excited about the results and how well his campaign went, but the race is still so close that he really couldn’t get that excited because he knows how it feels to lose in a run-off. He also said during his last campaign four years ago, Baldwin and himself went into a run-off and he lost because nobody came out to vote.

“I hope we don’t go into a run-off because no one turns out to vote for a run-off,” Martin said.

Baldwin said about his possible defeat, that it was currently really hard to decide what to do right now because of all the provisional ballots that have to be counted. He also said when he talked to the probate office, they said there was a total of 74 provisional ballots, but was unsure about how many were from district four.

“I know for sure that one or two of those provisional ballots are for me,” Baldwin said.

He said he only needs six more votes to get a run-off against Martin and he sure hopes that will happen.

“The race is just so close right now that it is hard to say what will happen,” Baldwin said.

The Chairman of the Marengo County Democratic Party William Coplin said there was a very good voter turnout on Tuesday, way better than anyone expected. He said the Martin&Baldwin race was shaping up to be a very interesting race.

“We will know something once all the legal votes are counted,” Coplin said.

He said he thinks that the sales tax increase that Baldwin and the rest of the commissioners except Ken Tucker passed on the people of Marengo County played a huge part in the race. Martin agreed with Coplin about the sales tax issue playing a big role in the race for the commissioner seat.

“I feel that the sales tax helped me, but many of the people just wanted a change,” Martin said.