BROOKVILLE – Before primary ballots were cast May 6, the hottest Franklin County race seemed to be the one for sheriff with three Republicans in the running. As precinct totals were announced at the courthouse in the early evening hours, however, it became clear that incumbent Kenneth Murphy, Brookville, at 62.5 percent, scored a decisive victory over Barry Bischoff, Connersville, at 19.4 percent and John Roberts Jr., Brookville, at 18.1 percent.
“I’m pleased with the outcome,” Murphy said Wednesday as he was picking up campaign signs. “The public sees what goes on behind the scenes and they want a sheriff who’s honest, has integrity and is transparent. I’m humbled and flattered they think that much of me.”
There were just four other countywide contested races. The closest one was the only Democratic choice, Chester Ball, Cedar Grove, or Dale Maxie, Bath, for District 1 commissioner. Maxie was the winner with a 52-48 percent margin. He arrived at the courthouse “pretty confident,” explaining, “The eight years I was sheriff I made a lot of friends.”
The candidate said he decided to run after observing six dump trucks containing hot mix for paving when frost was on the ground a few years ago. “They wasted $40,000” because Maxie suspected it was too cold to apply the material.
He will campaign against Eric Roberts, Brookville, who bested incumbent Republican commissioner Scott McDonough, Cedar Grove, 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent.
The winner’s mood went from nervous to relieved. Roberts, who served in that position from 2007-10, said, “I guess they wanted me back.” He added, “I want to work for the people and do everything that’s right for the county .... The biggest issue is the budget crisis and finding the way to correct that.”
Of the neck-and-neck race for most of the night, McDonough said, “It surprises me how fast people forget all the chaos that took place under the Roberts-Vonder Meulen (commissioners’) reign.” He observed, “There have been a lot of challenges this county has faced over the last four years. It’s been an honor to work with (Tom) Wilson and (Tom) Linkel ... the work is not done.”