The race for District 5 Hillsdale County Commissioner has been called after a delay due to a write-in candidate. Brent Leininger was elected to a two-year term as county commissioner. Leininger was the only candidate on the ballot and received 3,581 votes. His write-in challenger, Namrata Carolan, received 265 votes.
The Hillsdale County Clerk office released the election results on Nov. 6.
Leininger wrote on his campaign Facebook page around noon on Nov. 4 he looks forward to the next two years serving as county commissioner.
He describes himself as “a Christian, conservative, father of six beautiful kids, business owner, and lifelong resident of Hillsdale County here to serve.”
Leininger said he hopes to better residents during his term as county commissioner, alongside the four new members elected to the board.
“Looking at the composition of the board of commissioners, that will have four new members taking office,” Leininger said.
Leininger said he has always been surrounded by family members who contribute to their communities through elected service. He said he felt serving as county commissioner was the best way to help his community this year.
“I grew up in a family which exemplified outreach to the public through elected service: my mother serving on the Waldron Area School Board of Education for 24 years and then serving on the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District Board; my father serving 36 years as Hillsdale County Treasurer after having served four years as a county commissioner,” Leininger said.
“It was ingrained in me how much we can meaningfully impact our fellow citizens by truly serving our community. I felt this was the time to offer my service to the residents of District 5 and Hillsdale County,” he added.
Leininger said his main goal as commissioner is “to see the county in a stronger financial position than it is in today.”
Hillsdale County Clerk Marney Kast said the county saw increased voter turnout in this election. While 59.53% of registered Hillsdale County voters turned out in 2016, 61.67% cast ballots this year.
Kast said counting write-in ballots “slows up the process because of making sure everything is accurate and the correct totals are awarded.” She doesn’t believe, though, that write-in ballots affected voter turnout in this election.
Kast explained that Hillsdale County’s results were counted swiftly and accurately.
“From the election night returns, there was no delay. When there is a large election such as the November general, the training our inspectors receive from myself, is to be accurate with the totals, making sure their precinct is in balance,” Kast said.
Carolan urged her supporters to “continue to fight with me, fight for your constitutional rights” after the election results came in.