Election Preview: Primary may be indication of close race in Commissioner District 2Published 7:25pm Friday, November 2, 2012
The county commissioner race in District 2 may shape up to be one of the closest local races this election season.
In the Aug. 14 primary, only two votes separated challenger Polly Glynn from incumbent Ray Tucker, who eked out a 290-288 win.
Glynn is expecting more of the same in November.
“I think it’s going to be pretty close,” she said.
Tucker warned the primary and the 9 percent voter turnout — the second-lowest state turnout in 62 years — may not be a good indicator for the general election.
“I think a general election will [have] a huge turnout,” Tucker said.
But Tucker, who is seeking his fifth term on the county board, said this is a competitive race, and both candidates have been complimentary of one another.
“I think that I have tougher competition this time,” Tucker said.
Likewise, Glynn acknowledged Tucker is a leader on the board after serving for 16 years. Tucker is currently the only commissioner not in his first term on the county board.
While Tucker is the old guard on the board, Glynn could be a rarity. According to county officials, Glynn would be just the second woman to serve as a commissioner in Mower County. She said a female point of view would beneficial when handling issues.
“We just look at things in a different way,” Glynn said. “And it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a female perspective on some of the issues.”
Both candidates have been doing their best to meet with the voters.
Tucker, along with help from a friend and his sister, has talked with voters and posted campaign signs. As with the national races, he said most voters are expressing concern about money and budgets are a key concern.
“There’s just not enough cash to go around,” Tucker said.
Tucker described the budget as a never-ending problem, with the state routinely passing off the burden.
“The state has been pushing it back on the county level, and of course the county has nowhere to push it lower,” Tucker said.
Glynn has traveled through her district — the largest of Mower’s 5 Districts made up of mostly rural parts of the county— to meet with voters, particularly farmers.
Many farmers have expressed concern about the county’s potential high levy increase in 2013, which could be as high as 11.5 percent, though commissioners are working to lower the increase.
“They’re very aware that they’re going to be absorbing most of that levy, and that’s a concern to them,” Glynn said.
At the same time, Glynn said farmers realize their land is continuing to increase in value.
Tucker said the board is working to bring the tax increase down into the single digits, noting that farmers will likely feel the brunt of the levy hike.
“The ag department will take the biggest hit, but they’re making good money right now,” he said referring to the high value of ag land.
Glynn is experienced in finances, as she worked for many years at First State Bank, starting in 1989 as an agriculture loan officer, progressing to vice-president and then president in July of 2007. She is now retired.
“What I bring is a financial perspective, because that’s my background and also the ag background,” she said.
Because of that background, Glynn said she had to balance budgets the best she could, and she understands the challenges of dealing with compliance issues and regulations.
“I understand that a lot of things in the budget you don’t have a lot of control over,” she said.
Before working in banking, Glynn worked at Farm Credit Services in Austin for 15 years.
Like Glynn, Tucker also has ties to the agriculture. He owns land that he rents to farmers, and he’s owned Tucker Tiling for 25 years.
“[I’m] very much tied to the ag industry,” he said.
With 25 years in the tiling business, Tucker has a background in surveying and ditch issues. But looking back over his 16 years, Tucker said his involvement with the growth of the wind industry in Mower county has been his most meaningful accomplishment.
“The green energy is a huge thing anymore,” he said.
Along with reaching voters, Glynn has been working to learn more about what commissioners do, attending board meetings to see how the meetings are conducted.
“What I’ve attempted to do is just kind of get a feel for the issues they’ve been concerning themselves with,” she sad.
She’s also attended meetings with the Farm Bureau meetings and township association, and she was interviewed at a business development event hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Glynn is no stranger to public boards, a topic she says has always been interested her, and she served 15 years on the Grand Meadow Public School Board.
She said she’s looking forward to the chance to serve on the county board and has already enjoyed the experience of meeting the voters.
“It’s been enjoyable,” she said.
Tucker said he’s looking forward to a chance to continue serving the public.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve District 2 on the county board,” he said. “I have enjoyed the terms I have been on there.”