Nov 8, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterTwo newcomers will join the Fremont County Commission in 2013 after beating out incumbents in this year's primary and general elections.
Stephanie Kessler, the Independent challenger in District 4, saw 1,894 votes Tuesday compared to the 1,745 cast for Republican incumbent Pat Hickerson. She will attend her first meeting as a commissioner in January along with Republican Larry Allen, who was unopposed in Tuesday's general election.
Kessler said she was feeling "immense gratitude" on Tuesday when she heard the final results.
"It was a huge effort by a lot of different people who were helping me out," Kessler said, describing friends who provided advice or helped her campaign door-to-door.
She also thanked the people in her district who she enjoyed meeting during her run for office.
"I felt like I always had a good experience meeting and working one-on-one with people," she said.
Hickerson said he was disappointed in Tuesday's result, but he said it is up to county residents to choose their local representatives.
"They obviously wanted new leadership," Hickerson said. "I wish Stephanie the best in her service and nothing but the best for the county and the citizens."
He said he feels he did a good job throughout his 10 years of service to the county, though he was not surprised about the outcome of the election.
"I knew it would be pretty close," Hickerson said, recalling tight races during the August
primary, when commission incumbent Dennis Christensen lost to Allen.
He plans to spend his extra time focusing on his business and projects he has undertaken with his family.
"I have plenty of things on my list," he said. "I may eventually try to get on another board or do something else politically, but it's too fresh to really speculate."
Hickerson thanked everyone who supported and encouraged him during the latest campaign and throughout the past 10 years.
"People have been great," Hickerson said. "I've enjoyed my tenure, and I will continue to finish out my term and do everything I can for the citizens of the county until I'm up in January."
District 5 Republican Doug Thompson was the only incumbent to make it through Tuesday's election, with 1,784 votes cast in his favor over Independent challenger Nathan Maxon, who earned 1,258 ballots.
"I'm pleased the voters sent me back to work for them," Thompson said Tuesday. "I'll do my best for the future."
He said he is looking forward to working with the commission's two new members in 2013.
"We'll have some new blood there, and some experienced blood," he said. "I don't perceive any problems with it. We'll handle each issue as it comes."
He also thanked his supporters, including Jennifer McCarty, who backed Thompson after losing to him in the District 5 primary.
"I appreciated that, and I appreciate the help I've gotten from a number of different groups," Thompson said. "They wanted me back there, and they worked hard to get me there."
Maxon was not available for comment Tuesday evening.
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