Ruot, Friedel, Bowen win on Tuesday

Nationwide, Americans overwhelmingly voted for change over experience on Tuesday in electing Barack Obama as president. In Fayette County, voters chose experience over change.

Incumbents Mary Sue Ruot, Stephen Friedel and Bruce Bowen were winners in Tuesday’s general election.

Ruot, a Democrat who was appointed circuit clerk in August after the retirement of Marsha Wodtka, won close to 54 percent of the vote in defeating Republican challenger Nona “Nonie” Beckman.

Friedel, a Democrat who is completing his second term as state’s attorney, fought off a tough challenge by write-in candidate Dan Goggin.

And Bowen, a Republican, also won a third term as coroner by defeating Democratic challenger John Cearlock.

Ruot, who has been a deputy circuit clerk for 26 years and an employee involved in the local court system for 28 years, won 25 of 32 precincts on Tuesday.

She jumped out to a 629-454 lead as the vote totals for the first set of four precincts were tabulated by Fayette County Clerk and Recorder Terri Braun, and held onto that lead for the rest of the evening.

Friedel garnered close to 61 percent of the vote in winning a third term in office.

He received 5,065 votes to defeat Goggin, a Greenville attorney who received 3,250 votes as a write-in candidate after failing in attempts to gain a spot on the ballot.

Goggin initially filed as a Republican candidate, but a Fayette County Electoral Board ruled in favor of an objection that Friedel filed over Goggin’s nomination papers.

Goggin then filed to run as an independent candidate, and Friedel also filed an objection to

On the day of an electoral board hearing on the matter, Goggin withdrew as a candidate.

He subsequently made another attempt to run as a Republican, claiming that the electoral board technically did not make a legal ruling on his initial attempt to be that party’s candidate.

Bowen won 30 of 32 precincts in soundly defeating Cearlock in the coroner’s race.

Overall, close to 63 percent of Fayette County’s registered voters (9,805 of 15, 589) went to the polls on Tuesday, according to unofficial election results provided by Braun’s office.

While Obama, a Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois, handily defeated Republican John McCain, he did not win Fayette County. McCain held a 5,493-3,963 edge over the 44th president of the United States.

It will be the task of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy created by the election of Obama to the presidency.

Fayette County voters overwhelmingly rejected the call for a Constitutional Convention, 6,164-2,122.

Incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin easily won re-election to the U.S. Senate, and in Fayette County, he received 4,955 votes (52 percent). Republican Steve Sauerberg led the pack of challengers locally with 4,064 votes (43.2 percent).

U.S. Congressman John Shimkus, a Republican, also posted an easy win on Tuesday. He received 5,953 votes (70 percent) in Fayette County, with his closest challenger being Democrat Daniel Davis (2,395 votes, 28 percent).

State Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville) and state Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Greenville) were unopposed in their re-election bids.

Watson, who is still recovering from a recent stroke, received 7,482 votes in Fayette County. He currently serves as the minority leader in the Illinois Senate.

Stephens received 7,183 votes in Fayette County on Tuesday.

Fayette County voters also supported the retention of Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm of Loogootee.

Schwarm, who has served as a judge since 1994 and the chief judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit for the past seven years, received 7,302 votes (80.86 percent) in this county.

Judges must receive at least 60 percent of the vote in order to be retained.

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