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Democrats lose contests on City Council, Clerk-Treasurer

Frank Zerr, left talks to mayor Tom DeBaun, middle, and Gary Bowen after results were announced.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

A burst of cheers quickly turned to groans at the Brinson Building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds when the results for Shelbyville clerk-treasurer and city council seats were announced on Tuesday.

Democrat Frank Zerr lost his re-election bid for clerk-treasurer and the Democrats lost in contested races in the Second and Fifth Wards. Democrat Carrie Ridgeway also lost her bid for one of two At-Large seats in a three-way race with Republicans Brian Asher and Rob Nolley.

Joanne Bowen won an uncontested race in the First Ward, with 312 votes.

The Democrats did not have a candidate in the Third or Fourth Wards.

“We hate to see Frank Zerr get defeated,” Democrat chairman Bob Williams said after the final results were announced. “He’s a fine, fine man. But we’re glad that Joanne Bowen got elected. They were afraid to run against her, I guess. We’ve at least got a good Democrat on the council who’s going to be returning.”

Williams said that he was surprised that both Zerr and Jeff Wright, who ran against Republican Tyson Conrady in the Fifth Ward, lost.

Zerr lost to Republican Scott Asher, 1,475 to 1,368 for the clerk-treasurer position.

Zerr said he couldn’t compete with the amount of money his opponent raised – about four times as much. He said he believed his age and the number of years he has served the community factored into his defeat.

“I was prepared no matter what happened tonight, whether I won or lost,” he said. “I’ve been at peace with this for some time.”

Approaching his 71st birthday, Zerr said he had decided to run because he was ready to serve another four years after serving eight different terms for the community.

“It’s been a great, great joy to me, to have done all those different positions with the City of Shelbyville and the county,” he said.

Once the results were known, Williams gave a toast to mayor Tom DeBaun for winning his re-election as well as the Democrat candidates who fell short.

Zerr was confident that Scott Asher will do a good job stepping in, noting that his brother-in-law, Brian, was and will continue to be on the council.

“The Asher family is a good family name,” he said, adding he went to school with Scott’s parents. “I knew no matter what the outcome was, it was going to be just fine.”

Democrat Angela Matney lost to Republican Nathan Willis in the Second Ward, 274 to 158.

Brian Asher received the most votes in the At-Large race with 1,847 while Nolley received 1,775. Ridgeway took 1,025.

Conrady won a tightly-contested race with 234 votes to Wright’s 204.

Afterward, Wright congratulated Conrady on his win.

“I think everybody thought I was kind of a shoe in,” he said. “Perhaps it’s time for me to do something else.”

He added that he didn’t know what the future held for him. As an incumbent on the city council, he was confident leading up to Election Day.

“I can’t say I was shocked but I kind of felt like, ‘OK, I’m an incumbent,’” he said. “People say incumbents (have) got the best chance of winning. But that did not happen. Mr. Tyson won so congratulations to him.”