At left: Jeff Duncan (HCP file photo). At right: Gary Abernathy (Photo courtesy of Abernathy for Commissioner Facebook).
At left: Jeff Duncan (HCP file photo). At right: Gary Abernathy (Photo courtesy of Abernathy for Commissioner Facebook).
Highland County Commissioner Jeff Duncan was re-elected for a second term, and commissioner Gary Abernathy was elected to finish the unexpired term of former commissioner president Shane Wilkin, according to unofficial results of the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election.

Duncan, who was first elected in 2014, received 9,979 unofficial votes, defeating Democratic candidate John Dale Knauff, who received 3,293 votes, unofficially.


In addition to his four years as county commissioner, Duncan is also a member of the Highland County Republican Central Committee. He has worked as a farmer and Penn Township trustee and has served as a member of the Clinton-Highland Joint Fire District Board and as president of the ownership group at Five Points Implement Company.

“I’d like to thank the voters for their confidence in me,” Duncan told The Highland County Press. “My plan is to continue what we’ve been doing, with fiscal responsibility – trying to get everything we can, for everybody we can, with the money we’ve got to work with.

“I’m looking forward to serving for another four years.”

Duncan defeated three Republican candidates – Dave Gingerich, Fred Kay and Pete Pence – in the 2014 primary and Democratic candidate Randy Mustard in the 2014 election. Duncan’s 2018 unofficial vote total exceeded his total from 2014, when he received 6,219 votes. He was unopposed in the 2018 primary.

Abernathy will fill the unexpired term, ending Jan. 1, 2020, of Wilkin, who was appointed to the Ohio House seat for the 91st District following the 2018 primary to replace former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, who resigned amid an FBI investigation. Wilkin defeated Democratic candidate Justin Grimes for the 91st House District seat Tuesday night.

Abernathy has been serving as commissioner since being appointed by the Highland County Republican Central Committee July 3 and sworn in July 5. Abernathy unofficially received 8,465 votes Tuesday, while Mustard — who was appointed by the Highland County Democratic Central Committee as their candidate — received an unofficial 4,865 votes.

“I really want to thank the voters,” Abernathy told The Highland County Press. “As a first-time candidate, you just don’t know what to expect, so I’m very grateful to the voters and grateful to anybody who put a yard sign in their yard.

“I really appreciate my wife Lora, because spouses really go through this with you, and I’d like to thank the Republican Central Committee for allowing me to fill this position to begin with. I’m glad that I was able to not let them down. Also, just a special thanks to Dick and Paulette Donley who worked hard for me and worked hard for the whole ticket.

“I also want to congratulate Randy. He’s a good guy and a good trustee and ran a good race.”

Also in Highland County, two officials running unopposed were re-elected. Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley received 11,407 votes, unofficially, while Highland County Court Judge Robert J. Judkins received an unofficial 1,297 votes.

Voter turnout in Highland County was 48.63 percent, with unofficial results for 31 precincts and absentees tabulated. The Board of Elections was counting provisional ballots Tuesday night, but Highland County Board of Elections Administrator Steve Witham said that the turnout for this midterm was already significantly higher than the 2014 election, when voter turnout was 39.39 percent.