By Brenna R. Kelly
Enquirer staff writer
FLORENCE - There will be one new - but familiar - face on Florence City Council next year.
Betsy Conrad, who sat at city council meetings for 22 years as city clerk, will now sit as a council member.
One familiar face will be leaving council. Incumbent Dale Stephens, the longest consecutively-serving councilman, was defeated in Tuesday's election.
With 3,945 votes, Conrad, 62, was the fourth-highest vote getter in the race for six seats
Conrad admitted she was surprised by her victory, "inasmuch as I didn't even put up one sign," she said.
But because Conrad served as city clerk and human resources director for so long, she knew she had name recognition among Florence residents.
"I really appreciate their confidence," she said. "It's an awesome responsibility, and I am humbled that people put their trust in me."
For Stephens, leaving council after eight years will be hard.
"It'll be an adjustment," he said. "Every Tuesday night, you know where you're going to be."
Stephens, 73, a retired Cincinnati Bell service manager, missed a seat by just 117 votes.
"I just got beat," said Stephens. "I'll sleep on it, and maybe I'll go to the courthouse and see what I got in each of the precincts."
In a low-key race, Stephens said he campaigned, using yard signs and sending out 4,000 mailers.
"And I got smacked."
Incumbent Julie Metzger got the highest number of votes - 6,043 - nearly 2,000 more than the second-place candidate, incumbent David Osborne.
"I am shocked. I can't even explain how shocked," said Metzger, 37, who said she didn't campaign particularly hard in Florence. "I was at all the events, I have one of the best attendance records on council. I really don't know, but it's exciting."
She attributed her name recognition to owning a business in the city. Metzger, who is an optometrist, interacts with residents every day, she said.
Metzger said though one of the incumbents would be leaving, the council would embrace any newcomers.
"We were a good team," she said, "so that's sort of sad."
Osborne will continue as the councilman who has served the most total years. Osborne, 64, who works as a Boone County code inspector, has been on council for 25 of the last 28 years. He received the second-highest number of votes with 4,204.
"I am very, very flattered that I did finish second," Osborne said. The results show that "people are pretty well satisfied with the way things are going."
He said he campaigned by talking to residents and putting up signs but noted that in Florence, "you have to campaign every day you are in office."
Ted Bushelman, 68, who has been on council for four years, will also get another term. And incumbents Mel Carroll and Melodee Merrell will return.
Challenger Larry Brown missed a seat on council by just 43 votes. Brown served on council in 1999 and 2000.
Two challengers got the lowest number of votes. Ritsel T. Sparks, got 2,378 votes while Curt Bessette, 45, a retired Toys R Us executive, received 2,310 votes.
Mayor Diane Whalen, who was not up for election, said the results show that residents are mostly satisfied with the direction the city is going.
Whalen said she wasn't sure why all the incumbents were re-elected.
"When you have that many people running, it's hard to know what the deciding factors might be," Whalen said. "Betsy is very well-known."
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
IN THE TRISTATE
Shelter director traveled from needing to helping
Help Habitat by hiring yard rakers
Father inspired mission journey
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