LIMA — A longtime public servant will represent the Republicans on the November ballot for Allen County commissioner, as Beth Seibert earned 59.84% of the votes in a five-way primary Tuesday.
Seibert won more than three times as many votes as the second-place contender, Greg Stolly, who has 18.61% of the votes cast. Third place went to Tim Sielschott, while fourth was Judy Augsburger and fifth was Alan D. Tyrrell Jr.
The win puts Seibert in the November primary against Democrat Norman Capps and independent Dan Beck, the former Allen County sheriff. The position came open when commissioner Jay Begg decided not to run for re-election.
“I am blown away to have such a margin,” Seibert said, crediting her opponents with running cordial campaigns.
“I’ve heard of a lot of mudslinging on other campaigns — you brace yourself for that — but I appreciated such gentlemen and ladies we all were. I want to thank them for the contest they gave to this office and to the kindness and professionalism they gave.”
Seibert, Capps and Beck are vying for the position as the Allen County Commission expects a $2.8 million shortfall in sales tax revenue, as stores and dine-in restaurants have been closed because of the novel coronavirus since March.
Seibert, a program coordinator with the Allen Soil and Water District, is already working with Allen County Commissioners Cory Noonan and Greg Sneary to make cuts to the county-state agency’s budget.
She made similar tough calls in 2009, when the Great Recession took a toll on the county’s finances.
“We had no notice that we were being zero-funded. We had to make quick reaction,” Seibert said. “This is nothing. But I feel like I am prepared for the experiences and through my agency leadership to help the commissioners make the cuts and ask the agencies to do what they need to do.”
Seibert hopes to take this time to talk to county agencies about how they are supporting local businesses.
“I think that’s important,” she said. “We ought to walk the talk.”
The Allen County Republican Party is expected to appoint a replacement to finish Begg’s current term sometime in May.
Commissioner Cory Noonan, a Republican, was unopposed in the primary and is unopposed in November.
Allen County saw 23.02% turnout in the primary.
Stolly and Sielschott exach expressed their congratulations to Seibert.
“I’m very happy for Beth and what she did,” Stolly said. “That is just, it’s impressive to get almost 6,000 votes. My congratulations to her.”
Sileschott added, “I want to congratulate Beth and everybody else involved in the campaign. Everyone ran a professional campaign, and I’m excited to see how Beth does this fall. Congratulate her on winning. It was a good experience getting to meet as many people as I did.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.