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Donner, McGregor win election

Trisha Benton

Cedar County News

HARTINGTON - You win some and you lose some.

One incumbent and one challenger won in two contested seats for the Cedar County Board of Commissioners.

Incumbent Dave McGregor will start his fifth term serving District 3 which includes Hartington and Coleridge. He won against Kelly Hammer by a vote of 582 to 265.

Challenger Dick Donner of Hartington won against Incumbent Chris Tramp of Crofton in District 1 - the northern and western portion of the county. The vote total there was 411 to 333.

Barring a write-in campaign in November, McGregor and Donner will take office in January.

McGregor said he was confident going into Tuesday’s primary but re-districting added in many new voters that he didn’t have a track record with.

“That was the dark horse. I didn’t know about the turnout there,” he said.

His challenger Kelly Hammer of Coleridge was surprised that only 53 percent of eligible county voters turned in their ballots.

At a candidate forum last month, Hammer said not many people were familiar with him. Perhaps, that lead to the downfall in votes, he said Tuesday night.

“I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to buy the vote,” Hammer said.

The name and face recognition may have been in Donner’s favor as he pulled an upset over Tramp.

“I’ve been around a long time. I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” Donner said. “People have known me for decades more or less. I don’t have to introduce myself for the most part.”

Donner said he’s pleased with the outcome but wasn’t overly confident he would win.

“You don’t count nothing until it’s over,” he said.

Donner served two terms as a commissioner from 1999 to 2007. He said he will spend the time before he takes office to stay informed and continue to talk to constituents for their feedback.

Tramp was understandably disappointed with the results and wasn’t sure why he didn’t come out on top.

“Everyone I talked to said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it,’” he said.

McGregor said Tramp has done an exemplary job over the last four years as commissioner.

“It was a baptism by fire. He was barely getting to know his district and the people working for him and then the flood hit and the roads were out all over the place,” McGregor said.

Tramp will definitely miss working (and sharing laughs) with McGregor, Chairman Craig Bartels, and other county staff.

“I got to work with a lot of good people,” Tramp said. “The employees I’ve had have been challenging at times but they’ve respected me and we’ve worked side by side together.”

As for what’s next, he’s not sure.

“As soon as I got in four years ago, someone asked me, what happens if you don’t get the job four years from now? Well, I said, ‘I’m not going to think about that,’” Tramp said. “I still haven’t thought about it.”