It came down to only 22 votes as to who would serve as District 2 Madison County magistrate and winner/incumbent Roger Barger said he was a bit nervous about the close race, but is proud to be serving a second term as magistrate for his district.

“The vote was about as close and you can get,” said Barger, who received barely more than 50 percent of the vote. “But, that lets you know that every vote counts. Every phone call you make and every door you knock on can make the difference.”

Barger said the next term will be quite a bit different without former fellow magistrate Billy Ray Hughes, who was defeated by Harold K. Botner for the District 3 seat.

“This next term is going to be tough because I lost a good friend off the court, but we welcome the newcomer,” Barger said. “We all have to work together no matter what. We have a lot of hard work to do and some big decisions to make, but just one vote won’t do it. It’s going to take all of us.”

Barger’s challenger, Wayne S. Long, received 49.80 percent of the vote.

With all precincts reporting, the results were:

District 1:

Larry L. Combs ......... 2,513

Howard Evans .......... 2,197

District 2:

Roger Barger ........... 2,526

Wayne S. Long ......... 2,506

District 3:

Harold K. Botner ....... 2,311

Billy Ray Hughes...... 2,138

District 4:

William H. Tudor .... 2,428

Greg King .................. 2,005

Having had no previous political experience, Long still called the campaign a success based on the close results.

“I feel like me and my supporters put on a good race,” Long said. “The fact that I didn’t win was not because we didn’t give it a good effort.”

District 1 incumbent Larry L. Combs received 53 percent of the vote and defeated challenger Howard Evans, who received more than 46 percent.

Combs expressed his gratitude to all of his family, friends and other constituents who supported him during the campaign for his 25th year as District 1 magistrate.

“I had a lot of good people behind me, but my opponent worked very hard,” he said. “I owe everyone a ‘Thank you’. My record clearly shows that what I’ve been doing evidently has satisfied the people because they put me back in. I’ll try to continue doing the job they elected me to do.”

This was Evans’ first political campaign and he said it was definitely a learning experience.

“This election has made me realize one thing and that is, I am definitely still a winner,” Evans said.

The newest addition to the fiscal court will be Harold K. Botner, who defeated eight-year incumbent Billy Ray Hughes for District 3 magistrate.

Botner was not able to be reached for comment.

Hughes said his defeat was not going to be considered an ending.

“It’s a new beginning for me,” he said. “I’m excited about what’s going to happen next. No one likes to lose, but you never know what another day will bring. When one door closes, another one always opens. I’m also excited about getting the opportunity to spend more time with my grandchildren.”

Four-year incumbent William H. Tudor received more than 54 percent of the vote with his challenger, Greg King, receiving just more than 45 percent.

“I’m really appreciative of all my friends and neighbors,” Tudor said. “I’ve had a bad knee, and everyone has helped me go door-to-door during the campaign.”

Tudor views his next two-year term as being “very critical,” he said.

“The influx of people coming to this county could create a lot of problems,” Tudor said. “The fiscal court needs to help to both educate and communicate.”

Ronica Shannon can be reached at or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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