Brenda Mossbarger was victorious Tuesday over incumbent Aaron Coole in a tight Republican primary race for Fayette County Auditor.
According to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections, Mossbarger received 1,714 votes (51.81 percent) and Coole received 1,594 votes (48.19 percent).
“We did it!” Mossbarger said after the final election results came in Tuesday. “Thank you to everyone for your continued support, for this would not be possible without you. I am excited to represent you as the Republican nominee for auditor of Fayette County. Remember, our work is not done here. We must hit the polls again in November’s general election. I look forward to these coming months as we prepare for the bright future of the office and our community.”
In March 2017, Mossbarger was appointed by the Fayette County Commissioners as the interim auditor following the retirement of former auditor, Mike Smith. However at the April 13 meeting of the Fayette County Republican Central Committee, the committee voted to appoint Coole as the auditor. Coole was reappointed by the committee a second time Nov. 9 after a civil suit was filed alleging that Coole’s April 13 appointment violated open meeting laws. As part of a settlement, the Republican central committee agreed to hold a re-vote on Nov.9.
Shortly thereafter, Mossbarger decided to run against Coole in the primary.
Throughout her campaign, Mossbarger touted her 20 years of experience as an employee in the auditor’s office.
“Once again, I want to sincerely thank every Fayette Countian who’s ready to let 20 years of experience work for you,” she said Tuesday.
Mossbarger is expected to be unopposed in the November general election as there was no Democratic primary and no write-in candidates filed by the deadline, according to the board of elections.
Coole took a conciliatory tone when asked about Tuesday’s results.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” he said. “I appreciate everyone’s support, but I’m not going to comment on the politics anymore. I thought we were able to communicate the improvements we made in the office. Obviously, we weren’t able to do that as much as I would have liked. I called Brenda and wished her the best. I said all along the voters would decide this thing.”
Leading up to the election, Coole told voters he had made drastic improvements to the auditor’s website and computer system. Coole also said that office processes were streamlined, which he said saved the county close to $100,000 a year in payroll and benefits.
Coole’s term as auditor does not end until March 10, 2019.
“I still have 10 months left in the job,” Coole said. “It won’t be easy, but we’ll do our best. I’m not just going to walk away. I enjoyed meeting so many people. Being in this process I learned a lot and I’m thankful for everybody’s support. It was a close race.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica