ALEDO -- Mercer County Deputy Treasurer Bev Lower defeated fellow Democrat Shawna Pearson in Tuesday's primary by a vote of 960 to 395.|
Ms. Lower will now face Republican Sandy Bull in the Nov. 4 general election.
The county treasurer's office has been in a state of flux since Mike Bertelsen, the current treasurer, was charged with a pair of felonies, one alleging he took thousands of dollars from the county's 911 fund and another where he is charged with taking more than $500 from the Mercer County Republican Central Committee.
He retains the title but has been blocked from the office.
Ms. Lower moved to the county treasurer's office in 2012. In August 2013, she assumed responsibility for the treasurer's duties, such as collecting taxes, bankruptcies, forfeitures and sale in errors.
On Tuesday, Ms. Lower said she was happy with her win and said it is time to move forward, even as the courts address Mr. Bertelsen's cases.
"I'm very excited," Ms. Lower said. "I feel grateful and want to thank the Mercer County citizens."
Ms. Lower said changes have been made within the treasurer's office.
"We plan on using a lot more technology, utilizing a lot more software," she said. "I'm looking forward to moving the office forward and serving the Mercer County citizens. The vote makes me feel the citizens know I'm doing my job."
In another contested race, Republican Karen R. Jones defeated Mercer County Republican Party Chairman Jason Soseman for the party's nomination to the District 1 county board seat by a vote of 178 to 103. Ms. Jones will face Democratic candidate Randy L. Anderson on Nov. 4.
They are contesting for the seat being vacated by George Howard, who is running for sheriff.
Mr. Soseman also lost his Republican precinct committeeman seat in Mercer 6, which is outside of Aledo, to former county board member and Republican Party Chairman Bob Vickrey by a vote of 54 to 26.
Mercer County Clerk Phyllis Bewley said turnout was about 25 percent, compared to 33 percent in the 2012 presidential primary and 19.5 percent in the 2010 primary.
"I'm satisfied with the turnout," she said, saying the last of the 24 precincts came in shortly after 9 p.m.