By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - Experience won over youth in a tight race Tuesday for Kenton County Property Value Administrator.
Democratic incumbent Merrick Krey of Edgewood, who has worked in the PVA office for 26 years, narrowly defeated political neophyte Kevin Black. Krey won by 211 votes, 16,503 to 16,292, according to unofficial results from the Kenton County Clerk's office.
Black, who had never run for office or appraised a piece of real estate, was gracious in defeat but said he is likely to ask for a recount.
"It was one of the tightest countywide races in local history," Black said. "I congratulate my opponent and wish him and his family the best.
"Obviously I'm disappointed and wish the end result was different," he said. "It's possible I'll ask for a re-canvass, though they may be triggered automatically in a race this close."
Krey played heavily on his experience during the campaign. He worked for the PVA office for 26 years, including 15 as chief deputy to former PVA Mark Vogt.
Krey's was the lone bright spot in a tough night for area Democrats, who watched GOP candidates sweep Kenton County in the statewide races.
"The voters picked experience and leadership over straight party politics," said Kenton County Democratic Party Chairman Nathan Smith. "Nobody expected us to win this race. And it shows that, despite what some people think and say, the Democratic Party is not dead in Kenton County."
The PVA is charged with assessing the value of all property in the county. That value is then used to determine taxes owed on the property.
Black, 24, works in marketing but has never appraised a piece of property and has no training in real estate - points Krey frequently mentioned in his campaign materials.
Black refused to concede that his youth and inexperience played a role in his defeat. Instead, he said Krey's infusion of $15,000 of his own money into the campaign made the difference.
"He fought hard because he had a lot to lose," Black said.
Krey also worked to paint Black as a political insider who viewed the post of PVA as a stepping stone to higher office. Black's mother, Barbara, is a Kenton County commissioner.
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