Fit to be tied: 7th Ward deadlocked…for now

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Ben Uzelac and Tim Siemer

QUINCY – Seventh Ward challenger, Republican Tim Siemer, had a 55 vote lead going down the stretch Tuesday night, but the early voting numbers came in and that gave the incumbent, Democrat Ben Uzelac, a fighting chance.

And as of now…that race is tied.

Adams County Clerk Ryan Niekamp said he was declaring a tie as all of the ballots that the county now has in its possession have been counted as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. However, there were 57 ballots mailed out that have yet to be returned and could still be counted.

“As long as those ballots postmarked and signed by today, they will be counted, Niekamp said. “We could have 10 mailed back. We could have 57 mailed back. We could have 30 mailed back.”

Niekamp said a bi-partisan panel of Adams County Judges will review the remaining ballots as they come in. He said they will tally them at the end of this week, the end of next week and then on the final day, which is two weeks from today on April 18.

Uzelac said regardless of what the outcome will be, he’s proud of the race he ran and the work he has done during his first term.

“I think Jack and I have had a positive impact,” Uzelac said. “I ran a clean campaign against my two opponents. If Tim does end up winning, he’ll look really good because we have a lot of good things happening in the 7th Ward.”

Siemer was not able to be reached for comment.

The other factor in the race was the write in candidacy of Brennan Hills, who is also the vice chairman of the Adams County Democratic Party. Hills did attempt to mount a campaign with signs and some billboards, but there were only 13 write-in votes cast.

Those 13 votes do loom large however as Hills ran this campaign against an incumbent in his own party. When Uzelac was asked about his party’s vice chairman running against him, he said “Who?”

Quincy’s Sixth Ward race wasn’t nearly as close as Republican Jake Reed knocked off Democrat Patty Maples 508 votes to 288, a 64-36 margin that is beyond the scope of whatever mail-in votes there are to be counted.

“Nearly 70 percent … I feel good,” Reed said. “I had a big help from my wife doing the marketing and I did what I do best. I knocked on 1,400 doors and walked the ward three times. I had a lot of help from people in the (Republican) party as well.

Maples was running in her first race as she was appointed to fill the term of Democrat Katie Awerkamp, who resigned her seat after she moved out of the ward.

Republican Glen Ebbing won the uncontested Fifth ward race. He’ll succeed Republican John Mast, who opted not to run for another term.

Other incumbent Quincy aldermen who ran unopposed included Eric Entrup (R-1st Ward), Jeff Bergman (R-2nd Ward), Kelly Mays (R-3rd Ward) and Mike Farha (R-4th Ward).

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