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Wells County

2 new faces join 7-term incumbent

One veteran incumbent and two newcomers won three at-large seats Tuesday on Wells County Council, ousting the lone Democrat serving on the council.

Republican James Van Winkle, the council’s current president, garnered an unofficial 27 percent of the vote to win his seventh nonconsecutive term.

Fellow Republicans Vicki Andrews, running her first campaign, took 28 percent of the vote and Michael Mossburg received 24 percent, according to the unofficial results.

“This worked out pretty well,” Andrews said. “I didn’t know I’d do that well.”

All three winning candidates talked about finances being important in their campaigns, with all candidates describing themselves as financial conservatives.

Andrews and Van Winkle talked about the importance of keeping a balanced budget, while Mossburg brought up ideas like imposing a derelict tax for empty commercial buildings and voiced concerns about wind energy.

“I really look forward to working with the Republican team,” Mossburg said. “Until we actually get to the point of being in the council, this is the honeymoon stage, I guess. I’m looking forward to taking a fresh look at issues next year.”

Mossburg, who lost a race for Wells County commissioner a few years ago, said he felt he got his message out to the masses better this election, which helped contribute to the win.

While never having been elected to office, Andrews said she has been around politics – she worked in county government, her uncle was once sheriff and her grandfather was a councilman and commissioner – that she knew enough to know what to expect.

Van Winkle said he was happy with the win and happy with his fellow Republicans’ success.

But he added that he was sad to see that Democrat Tony Garton will leave the council. Garton grabbed 24 percent of the vote to finish fourth in the field.

“I really enjoyed working with Tony over the years,” Van Winkle said. “He represented the county well, and it’s difficult to see him going off.”

The final unofficial vote totals: Andrews 8,795; Van Winkle 8,576; Mossburg 7,715; Garton 6,567.