Republicans gain control of Clark County commission

Melanie Flax Wilt
Melanie Flax Wilt

The Republican party took complete control of the Clark County commission Tuesday, according to final, unofficial results from the general election.

Republican Melanie Flax Wilt defeated former Democratic commissioner Roger Tackett, while Republican New Carlisle City Councilman Lowell McGlothin beat appointed incumbent Democratic County Commissioner David Herier.

They will join Republican Rick Lohnes on the three-member board that oversees a $159 million budget largely funded by state dollars and local sales taxes, including a half-percent sales tax increase that was recently extended for another five years. The county has nearly 900 employees who provide wide-ranging public services from sheriff’s deputies to poll workers to road crews.

Flax Wilt and McGlothin will earn $65,620 annually for a four-year term that runs until the end of 2020.

Flax Wilt, the granddaughter of former Clark County Commissioner Gordon Flax, will fill the seat currently held by longtime Commissioner John Detrick. He will retire at the end of his term in December after 20 years.

Flax Wilt is a South Charleston resident who owns a Springfield-based public relations business that works with agriculture businesses across the country. She’s a graduate of Southeastern High School and Ohio State University.

“I can’t wait to get down to the business of serving Clark County and put my ideas into action,” Flax Wilt said. “It’s an honor to be elected as county commissioner and serve the people of Clark County.”

It’s clear voters want a change, she said, leaning in a more conservative direction.

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“I will be able to move things in that direction and support what our voter base wants,” Flax Wilt said.

Tackett previously served as a Clark County commissioner for 28 years before he was beat by Lohnes in the 2010 general election. He beat challengers Dale Henry and Darrell Jackson in the Democratic primary in May with nearly 47 percent of the votes.

Tackett thanked Clark County residents for their support and said he was honored to serve here over the years. He wished Flax Wilt luck in the future. He served on the commission with her grandfather.

“We worked real hard, but it just wasn’t a good year for Democrats here in Clark County,” Tackett said.

McGlothin has been a member of the New Carlisle City Council for the past 14 years, including four years as mayor.

“I’m so appreciative of all the votes,” McGlothin said. “Mr. Herier has done a great job. He’s represented the county really well.”

McGlothin said he’s up for the job after serving in New Carlisle since 2002.

“I’ve been doing the same type of job for 14 years,” McGlothin said. “I’m ready to help western Clark County and all of the county.”

Herier has served for nearly two years on the commission after being appointed to fill former Clark County Commissioner David Hartley’s position in March of 2015. He previously ran for county commission against Lohnes in 2014 and lost.

“It looks like it’s a bad night to be a Democrat in Clark County and the rest of the country,” Herier said. “I want to thank all of the volunteers who worked on my campaign and I wish Lowell luck on the commission.”