By Kim West
Greg Tucker was re-elected to his fifth term as license commissioner in Tuesday’s general election as Limestone County voters went to the polls to decide the local races for District 4 commissioner and license commissioner.
In the license commissioner race, Tucker, a Democrat, defeated Republican Ronnie Coffman 19,430 to 13,618, or nearly 59 percent of the 33,838 votes cast in 32 of 34 precincts that had reported by 9:30 p.m. The other two boxes were absentee and provisional ballots.
The 55-year-old Coffman, a registered land surveyor who serves as chairman of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee, raised at least $8,040 in contributions and added $988 of his own money. Tucker, 54, brought in at least $24,175 from contributors and supplied $9,000 in personal funds to his campaign.
Tucker, who was endorsed by Republican State Executive Committee Member Randy Smeenk and received campaign contributions from everyone to incoming Florence mayor and current Lauderdale County License Commissioner Mickey Haddock to Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, was first elected in 1988 and served four consecutive six-year terms as license commissioner, and ran unopposed during the last three elections.
“We’re very grateful for the turnout in the vote and very grateful for all the people that said kind things and the people who put up yard signs, sent out tweets and went on Facebook,” said Tucker.
“It just came down to people recognizing us and the experience we have. We’re very grateful for the outcome and look forward to continue serving the people of Limestone County.”
During the campaign, Coffman supported expanding the license office to a satellite office in the East Limestone area and promised to run the license office as a business and extend the office’s business hours, including Saturday hours. Tucker promoted his 24 years of experience, fiscal responsibility, availability and being able to voice local concerns to state officials.
“Of course we’re disappointed with the margin of victory, but there really isn’t anything else I could do,” said Coffman, who said he doesn’t have any plans to run again for public office. “Greg ran a great race, he’s been there 24 years and it’s hard to beat an incumbent sometimes.
“I’d just like to thank everybody who helped and supported me, and I couldn’t ask for any better supporters than I have. I’m just grateful we got Brad Curnutt elected (as circuit court clerk) and it looks like we got Ben Harrison elected, too, and that’s two out of three (Republican victories).”
In the battle for the District 4 commission seat, Republican Ben Harrison was leading Democrat Bill Daws 3,647 to 3,468, or 51.2 percent of the 7,115 votes cast in 14 of 16 precincts. The other two boxes were for absentee ballots and provisional ballots.
Among the 14 voting sites in District 4, Daws won the two Owens Senior Center boxes with a 1,190 to 1,116 total and he also captured the Athens Senior Center precinct 433-429, while Harrison edged Daws at the West Limestone Fire Department box with 300 votes to 256.
Harrison and Daws were awaiting the announcement of the absentee ballots at the Limestone County Event Center, and both declined comment until the race outcome was official.
Harrison, a 52-year-old small business owner, took in at least $5,850 in individual contributions and loaned his campaign $2,000. Daws, 53, raised at least $5,965 for his bid for a third elected term. Daws, who was re-elected in 2004 and 2008, served two years after being appointed in 2002 to the District 4 seat vacated by David Seibert, who was elected commission chairman.
During the campaign, Harrison, who will take office at the commission organizational meeting Nov. 14, ran on a platform of conservative fiscal spending and improving the road shoulders and road striping in District 4, while Daws touted his 10 years of experience, availability and more than $5.6 million in road improvements. Daws opposed the idea of converting the districts into a unit system, while Harrison was against any initial vote for the unit system.