By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer
Butler County voters were returning all three incumbent Republicans to the county commission in early, unofficial returns Tuesday.
Commissioners Greg Jolivette, Chuck Furmon and Michael A. Fox all jumped out to strong leads with 33 percent of 289 precincts reporting.
Jolivette, the former legislator who swapped jobs with former Commissioner Courtney Combs in January, had 65 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Lawrence "Rusty" Thomas.
Furmon, commission president and former Hamilton mayor, had 64 percent of the vote to 34 percent for James Lubbers of Fairfield Township.
Fox, who was not endorsed by the county Republican Party, had 54 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Democrat Catherine Stoker of West Chester Township had 32 percent, while J. Michael Best of Fairfield had 14 percent.
"I'm very grateful to the voters ... and I look forward to working on county issues for the next two years," said Jolivette, who was on the ballot because more than two years remained on Combs' term when he was appointed to the county board.
Fox, 55, a former legislator seeking his third term as commissioner, has been in the fight of his political life the past year.
Butler County Republican Party leaders were so upset with Fox criticizing Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court judges - all Republicans - that they encouraged Jolivette to leave the legislature and challenge Fox in the March primary. But a January deal avoided a bitter primary fight when Jolivette switched jobs with Combs, a Republican running unopposed for Jolivette's seat.
Not having the local party endorsement did not prevent Fox, a Fairfield Township resident, from raising the most money ($83,185) in the commission race - and being the only countywide candidate to buy TV advertisements this fall.
Stoker, 60, has served 11 years as trustee in the county's most populous unincorporated area. She failed to unseat Furmon four years ago.
Best, 57, entered the race as an independent to give Republicans an alternative to Fox and Stoker. The former Fairfield City Council member financed most of his $55,000 campaign himself.
Jolivette, 52, owner of Jolly's Drive-In, had served seven years in the legislature and 10 years on Hamilton City Council, including three as mayor. His opponent, Thomas, 29, was the youngest candidate for countywide office.
Furmon, 64, a retired Hamilton police officer, has served two terms as commissioner. Lubbers, 60, was running in his first countywide race.
OHIO ELECTION RESULTS:
Ohio provisional ballots may decide presidential election
Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
HAMILTON CO. RACES
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race
KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats
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Cone throw may bring legal action
Police dogs could get TV time at competition
Harrison man charged in auto fatals
Exhibit to spotlight 350 years of Judaism in America
Medal of Honor graves get special markers
Local news briefs
Neighbors news briefs
Good Things Happening
Gay Weber designed jet engines for GE
Time of change in Crestview Hills
Waltz or swing, timid students learn to let go
Florence Freedom has a deal
$545,000 grant to bolster Ky. health-care work force
N. Ky. news briefs
Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
N.Ky. schools' education guide available online
Murder counts filed in wreck that killed 2