Enquirer News Update   -   Updated 6:40 p.m.

Stoker concedes Butler
Co. commission race



By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

West Chester Township Democrat Catherine Stoker has conceded her Butler County commission race to incumbent Republican Michael A. Fox.

With only 48 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns, Stoker called Fox about 10:30 p.m. and congratulated him on winning another term in their three-way race.

Incumbent Republicans Greg Jolivette and Chuck Furmon also built commanding leads over their Democratic opponents.

Fox had held about 54 percent of the vote, to 33 percent for Stoker. J. Michael Best of Fairfield, a Republican running as an independent, had 13 percent,in the three-way race.

"I figured there was no sense in dragging it out. I didn't see anything going to change but by a percent or two," Stoker said.

Fox, 55, was not endorsed by the Butler County Republican Party. 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 former Commissioner Courtney Combs, a Republican running unopposed for Jolivette's seat.

Stoker, 60, said she plans to run for a fourth term as township trustee next year. This was her second failure to win a commission seat. She lost to Furmon four years ago.

E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com