Low voter turnout for school board, aldermanic races

Pictured, from left, new Waterloo school board members Neil Giffhorn (with son Robert) and Jimmy Yaekel celebrate with re-elected school board member Johnny Caupert at Stubborn German Brewing Company on Tuesday night. (Sean McGowan photo)

With extremely low voter turnout, the races for both Waterloo and Valmeyer school board were decided Tuesday night and Waterloo’s recently retired police chief was elected  as an alderman.

Turnout for the election was at nine percent in Monroe County — including the one percent of early voting factored in.

With three seats up for grabs on the Waterloo School Board, Neil Giffhorn, James Yaekel Jr. and John Caupert earned the most votes with Jason Wagenknecht on the outside looking in.

Giffhorn led the way with 66.8 percent of the votes (1,152), followed by Yaekel at 61 percent (1,051) and Caupert — the current school board president — at 57 percent (981). Wagenknecht garnered 44 percent of the vote. Two precincts in St. Clair County also voted for Waterloo School Board, with Yaekel earning 16 votes, Caupert with nine, Giffhorn with seven and Wagenknecht with four votes.

In the race for Waterloo Ward 2 alderman, retired Waterloo police chief Jim Trantham defeated political newcomer Emily Whelan, receiving 68.3 percent of the vote (207 to 95).

Trantham will take over his wife Rita’s seat on the Waterloo City Council. He retired as police chief at the end of November.

In the race for Valmeyer School Board, Justin Rohlfing (71 percent), John Niebruegge (71 percent) and Stefanie Johnson-Tyberendt (65 percent)earned the three seats up for grabs. Bob Frierdich was on the outside looking in with 213 total votes cast.

Other contested races in Monroe County included those for road districts. For Road District 1 commissioner, Dwight J. Kern defeated Dan Amann; for Road District 3 commissioner, Patrick Doyle defeated John E. Schneider; for Road District 3 clerk, Kerry Kelley defeated Denny Heck and John Gorka; for Road District 6 commissioner, Richard Heine defeated Patrick W. Huch.

There were two precincts in Monroe County voting along with 10 precincts in Randolph County voting for Red Bud School Board. The four candidates running Tuesday who will serve the next four years on this school board are Todd Birkner, David Goetting, Rick Stenzel and Abigail Carter.

Also in Randolph County, voters nixed a proposed one percent safety tax by a wide margin. Only 33 percent voted yes to a proposal that would have provided revenue earmarked for public safety matters.

In St. Clair County, newcomer Jerald L. Wilson was elected mayor of Dupo with 534 votes. He replaces outgoing mayor Ron Dell, who did not seek re-election.

The three Dupo village trustee positions had five contenders. Chris Ragsdale (434 votes), James G. Smith (420) and Benjamin Kenner (377) were elected. Richard Bright (211) and incumbent Donald W. Dixon Jr. (242) were defeated.

Richard Klein defeated Donald R. Hall in the race for mayor of New Athens, receiving 66 percent of the vote.

A referendum to issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $990,000 for maintenance and repairs in the Prairie du Pont Levee District — which touches a small portion of Monroe County — passed in St. Clair County by a vote of 617 to 143.

St. Clair County voters defeated a one percent sales tax that would have been used exclusively for school facilities within the county by a margin of 19,254 to 14,778.

Also defeated was a public safety tax that would have been a maximum one percent sales tax increase for a period of up to 12 years. It was defeated 21,071 to 12,911.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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