WAPAKONETA — For the first time in 36 years a new face will sit behind the bench in Auglaize County Municipal Court at the start of the new year.
Andrew Augsburger of Wapakoneta cruised to a decisive victory in Tuesday’s general election balloting in the race to fill the seat being vacated at year’s end with the retirement of longtime Auglaize County Municipal Court Judge Gary Herman.
Augsburger, who has spent the past 20 years as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Auglaize County, easily outdistanced St. Marys native David Weilbacher in the nonpartisan race between two longtime Republican candidates.
Augsburger polled 7,720 votes (68 percent) to 3,599 for Weilbacher.
Addressing supporters following his victory, Augsburger said, “Tonight was not about me; rather it was about all the hard work and dedication of the residents of this county.”
He congratulated his opponent and also paid tribute to Herman for his 36 years of service to the county.
“I have huge shoes to fill,” said the winning candidate.
He also thanked his wife and family for their unwavering support during the campaign.
“Again, I am a humbled man and I truly appreciate the support of so many,” Augsburger concluded.
At a combined polling site at the Auglaize County fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon, Dan Stephens said he had cast his vote for Augsburger.
“I know him; I don’t know the other guy,” said Stephens, 52, of Wapakoneta. “I just don’t like voting for people I don’t know.”
For that very reason, Maggie Herbst did not cast a ballot in the judicial race.
“I didn’t know enough about either candidate and didn’t want to make an uninformed decision,” said the Wapakoneta resident.
The municipal court judge race was the lone countywide ballot issue in Auglaize County, with the majority of contested races confined to village council, school board and township trustee races.
Some seats remained unfilled at the conclusion of balloting Tuesday. Three vacancies remain on the Cridersville Village Council and one opening remains on Minster Village Council. Two vacancies still exist on the Minster Local Board of Education.
In Buckland, a town of slightly more than 200 residents, seven candidates sought four seats on the village council and two were candidates for mayor.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Timothy Detty defeated challenger Daniel Lambert 58-47.
Incumbent village council representatives Leann Rich, Jay Miller and Scott May were returned to office and will be joined by challenger Savanna Freytag.
Five candidates — just one of whom was an incumbent — were seeking four seats on the Waynesfield Village Council in Tuesday’s balloting. Winning seats were Vicki Zimmerman, Rhonda Knox, Robert Neely and Scott Newland.
Wapakoneta City Schools: Four candidates sought two seats on the school board. Newcomers Brian Cossel and Gregg Ruppert claimed those two seats.
St. Marys City Schools: Incumbent Karl Dammeyer and newcomers Ron Wilker and Chris Falk were successful candidates for three available seats on the board.
New Bremen school board: Shelly Busse was the lone incumbent among five candidates seeking three seats on the school board. In a razor thin race she will be joined by Steve Vonderhaar and Suzanne Wells.
Contested races for two trustee positions were decided in Tuesday’s balloting in four of the county’s 14 townships. Claiming seats in their respective townships were:
Duchouquet Township — Rick Place and Dwight Steinke topped the four-candidate field.
Logan Township — Sam Kellerman and Anthony Lochard won in the three-person field.
St. Marys Township — Allen Imwalle and Chad Elshoff prevailed in the three-man race.
Wayne Township — Kevin Sidener and Larry Sutherland were winners.
Auglaize County Governing Board of Education Service Center: Incumbent Linda Kitzmiller and newcomer Matt Dwenger won two seats on the board.
There were no contested races in the remaining township trustee races.
In the lone ballot issue in Auglaize County, voters in New Bremen approved a pair of initiatives that will allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages and spirituous liquor between the hours of 11 a.m. and midnight on Sundays.
The issues were placed on the ballot by the owners of Lock One Theater and 17 West restaurant on Monroe Street in downtown New Bremen.