Douglas County commissioner races: Engels edges Thaler, Rice defeats Murphy |

Douglas County commissioner races: Engels edges Thaler, Rice defeats Murphy

Kurt Hildebrand

County Commissioner District 2

John Engels 4,445

Steve Thaler 4,011

County Commissioner District 4

Wes Rice 4,420

Janet Murphy 3,968

Douglas County Assessor

Trent Tholen 4,222

Dion Etchegoyhen 4,006

Douglas County Public Administrator

Steve Walsh 4,295

Debbie Logan 3,241

Douglas County Sheriff

Dan Coverley 6,954

Joe Duffy 3,173

Dave Brady 1,971

Dean Paris 830

While not the closest race, Commission Chairman Steve Thaler’s defeat at the hands of District 2 challenger John Engels was the Election Day upset on Tuesday night.

Engels won the Republican primary, 4,445 to 4,011 or by just over 5 percent of the vote.

“I’m about as surprised as everyone else,” Engels said on Tuesday. “It’s pretty hard to knock off a sitting incumbent. Now it’s really time to get down to where the rubber hits the road. All these folks expect something of me and I really don’t want to let them down.”

Thaler said he was humbled by the support he received from family, friends and the community.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done in this three and a half years and the clean campaign we’ve run,” Thaler said. “I wish my opponent the best.”

District 4 commission candidate Wes Rice won his race against Janet Murphy by 452 votes, also about 5 percent.

“The results were surprising to me, but I’m delighted I’m in,” he said. “I’m very disappointed that Steve didn’t make it. He’s done a marvelous job, and I was really looking forward to working with him. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure this county stays as beautiful and wonderful as it is.”

Murphy congratulated Rice and thanked her supporters.

She said she felt the establishment lined up against her campaign.

“There’s never been a time that I have seen a county commissioner where so many people endorsed one person, all because they didn’t want the other person to win,” she said. “I’ve always have done what I do for the people, and the establishment knows that.”

One race that wasn’t close was Capt. Dan Coverley’s victory over three opponents to win the sheriff’s race convincingly enough to avoid a run-off in November.

Coverley received 6,954 votes, or 53.8 percent of the total.

Fellow Capt. Joe Duffy received 3,173 votes or nearly a quarter of the vote, while challenger Dave Brady won 1,971 votes and Dean Paris received 830 votes.

“I’m pretty excited,” Coverley said. “With four candidates, I felt the vote would be spread out. I was just hoping to finish in the top two in the primary. It was a huge surprise. It is very humbling to have this support in community.”

Coverley thanked his supporters and voters.

“It’s a little intimidating,” he said. “When people have that much faith and confidence in you, you have to be able to deliver.”

Brady wished Coverley the best.

Paris acknowledged he was the underdog from the start.

“This was a learning experience for me,” he said. “I think I did pretty good for being an outsider. I got my feet in the water. The biggest thing was getting my name out there. I will keep doing good things and see what will happen in a couple of years.”

By far the closest race of the night was for Douglas County assessor where Trent Tholen defeated Dion Etchegoyhen 4,222 to 4,006.

“I had a feeling it was going to be like that,” Tholen said on election night. “I’m excited the voters gave me the opportunity and looking forward to what we’re going to do with the office.”

In the race for public administrator Steve Walsh defeated Debbie Logan, 4,295 votes to 3,241.

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