The fourth time was a charm Tuesday for Tim Baker, who will be the new Franklin County clerk.
Baker, 48, Robertsville, defeated Kyle Dubbert, Villa Ridge, by a 62 to 37 percent margin in the Republican primary to be elected to one of the county’s most important administrative positions.
A total of 18,575 votes were cast in the Republican primary clerk’s race. Baker collected 11,531 to Dubbert’s 7,044.
Baker calls the victory a true team effort and credits his family and volunteers for all of their hard work and support in the campaign.
“It’s very humbling to have the amount of voters choose us in this election,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but we’re excited. Sixty-two percent is an unbelievable total.
“We knocked on thousands of doors,” Baker added. “Just being out there was a big part of it.”
With the primary election now over and with no Democratic challenger in the fall, Baker should be sworn in as the new clerk at the end of this year.
Baker said he plans to rely heavily on the current staff and bring about positive change, where needed.
“There is 75 years of experience in that office,” he said. “As any politician knows, government is not like the private sector and there is always a learning curve in the first year.”
Baker added he plans to reach out to retiring county clerk Debbie Door and hopefully begin shadowing her in the next few months before he officially takes office to ensure a smooth transition.
In addition, Baker hopes to be included in county budget hearings that will take place in the fall months.
Speaking of budget, Baker said he plans to take a close look at the cards that are mailed out each year to remind voters of the upcoming elections.
“As I’ve said before, I’d like to make commission meetings available to the public online,” He said. “It’s something I campaigned on. It increases transparency and public trust and I’m all about transparency.”
In addition to dozens of other administrative functions, the county clerk’s office also conducts all of the elections held in the county, sometimes as many as four a year.
“I will help to shape our present, be a voice for the future, and preserve our past. Voters can count on me to keep our elections safe and secure,” Baker said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can for the citizens. They will find me out in our county’s schools, senior centers and civic group gatherings, educating them on how their county government and election cycles work.”
Try, Try Again
The run for clerk was Baker’s fourth attempt at acquiring a county office and he said he has no concerns about working with former political rivals.
“I got out of high school 30 years ago,” Baker said. “We are all professionals and I’m ready and willing to work with everybody.”
In 2016, Baker challenged incumbent First District Commissioner Tim Brinker. In that race, Baker lost to Brinker in the Republican primary by 1,122 votes, garnering 44 percent of the votes.
In 2014, Baker ran as an Independent against former presiding commissioner John Griesheimer. In that general election, Baker collected 41 percent of the votes, but still fell more than 4,000 votes behind the incumbent Griesheimer.
The 2012 Republican primary was Baker’s first foray into politics. That primary for First District commissioner was a four-way race. Baker came in third with 22 percent of the total votes.
“You learn from your mistakes each time,” he said. “I’m not a quitter. I have a certain skill set that can be useful and I’ve always felt I’m supposed to be in government. This is uncharted territory for me.”