By Mike Rutledge
Enquirer staff writer
NEWPORT - Former Mayor Johnny "TV" Peluso appeared likely to come closest of four challengers to capturing any of the four Newport City Commission seats. But it wasn't nearly enough: Voters returned all four incumbents for two more years.
Mayor Tom Guidugli also easily won re-election to his third term in office. Guidugli, 53, beat Sam Gassert, 28, in the challenger's first bid for public office. With 11 of Newport's 12 precincts reporting, Guidugli had 81.7 percent of the vote.
Peluso, 80, who to many is the face of old Newport, said he did little campaigning, but hoped to win a seat to keep himself busy: "I've got to have something to do, because I've got to keep active."
"If I run a close fifth, I'm going to ask for a recount," said Peluso, who was convicted in the mid-1980s of perjury and conspiracy. Then-Gov. Paul Patton restored his rights to vote and hold office in 1999.
With one precinct still out, Peluso was not close: He had 1,491 votes, leaving him 445 votes behind Commissioner Robbie Hall, but slightly ahead of fellow challengers Jeff Ballard and John C. Hayden, who had campaigned aggressively, and Rick Buechel.
"He was in office before, and there was problems," Guidugli said about Johnny Peluso's strong showing. "But I guess people forgive and forget."
Peluso's nephew, Vice Mayor Jerry Rex Peluso, 45, again was the most popular commission candidate. With 11 precincts in, he had more than 600 votes over Commissioner Beth Fennell. They were followed by commissioners Jan Knepshield and Hall.
"It's great," Guidugli said about the fact voters returned all incumbents to office. "I think it gives us the clear opinion that things are going good in the community and people realize it.
"They don't always agree with what we do, but at the same time, I think they've got faith in the board of commissioners," Guidugli said.
The result was especially gratifying because of challengers' "heated rhetoric," he said.
With an unchanged board, "we can stay focused on where we're going with our housing, and our parks, and working with our school board," Guidugli said. "I think that'll be the main focuses: neighborhoods, housing, parks, and working with the school system."
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