In a race decided by only 400 votes, Tim Brinker was elected Tuesday as the next first district commissioner of Franklin County.
Brinker, who currently is a Washington City Council member, received 2,299 votes, or 30.69 percent, of the 7,555 cast.
Incumbent Terry Wilson, also of Washington, came in second, netting 1,870 votes, or 22.43 percent.
Because no Democrat filed for the office, Brinker will not be opposed in November.
He will be sworn into office in January and will have to vacate his seat on the city council, as state law doesn’t allow an elected official to hold two paid elected positions at the same time.
“It is always good to win,” Brinker said. “But it really surprised me with how balanced the vote was across all the contenders. Obviously, the majority of people chose me, and I am very appreciative of that, but the vote tells me there’s a diverse populous across the county.”
He said he will have to work hard to make sure he’s representing all of those people once he begins his term.
“That’s what life is about, doing your best and letting the chips fall where they may,” Brinker said.
Brinker thanked his supporters and his family — including his wife, Betsy, and four children, Ryan, Holly, Beau and Scarlett — and joked that he wasn’t looking forward to having to remove all of his campaign signs spread out around the county.
“I worked harder than I’ve ever worked on anything, and I truly think if you put your heart and soul into something like I did this campaign, it pays dividends,” he said. “One way or another, I told myself before the results came in that I knew I could look in the mirror and feel proud.”
Brinker told The Missourian he was excited about his new job.
“Hat’s off to Terry Wilson,” Brinker said. “He has served this county for 12 years, and he ran a good, clean campaign, as did Tim (Baker) and Ron (Keeven).”
Baker, Robertsville, received 1,672 votes. Keeven, New Haven, received 1,625.
“I want to tip my hat to those guys. It was a very respectful campaign run by everyone. The fact that people can run for office in Franklin County without running negative campaigns is a good sign,” Brinker said. “The people of the county are smarter and more savvy than that and if you start slinging mud, people will sniff that out.”
He said that voter turnout was higher than predicted.
Turnout in the county topped 25 percent, higher than county Clerk Debbie Door’s prediction of 20-22 percent.
“It’s a good thing,” Brinker said. “It revitalizes my belief that people do care and want to make a difference. That’s why I ran for commissioner.”
Brinker is a business owner, having opened his own promotional products company, Brinker Promotions, in 2009, is a member of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Elks Lodge 1559, the Washington Rotary Club, the Knights of Columbus, Ducks Unlimited, the National Rifle Association and the St. Francis Borgia Church Choir.
During his time on the city council, Brinker has chaired the city’s administration, operations and citizens police advisory committees, been elected mayor pro tem three times and served on the Washington bridge committee, city traffic committee, 353 Redevelopment Corporation and Washington Area Highways and Transportation Committee.