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Kevin Slama's 20-year tenure of serving District 3 on the Butler County Board of Supervisors is coming to an end after being defeated in the Nov. 6 general election by opponent Scot Bauer.

“I feel that the public thought it was time for a change," said Slama, a Democrat. “I'm not surprised; Scot ran a really good campaign and I wish him the best of luck.”

The District 3 seat encompasses the western-central part of Butler County and includes the residents of Rising City and Garrison. The seat will be manned by the 55-year-old Rising City farmer, Slama, until January. 

In 2014, Slama, a Democrat, ran against Republican candidate Sam Barlean. Bauer also ran in the race as a last-minute write-in candidate. Slama was re-elected, receiving 43 percent of the vote (194), only 35 more votes than Bauer who received 35 percent (159), with Barlean receiving only 21 percent (98).

Bauer, 50, is a Rising City native. In 1978, he graduated from World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He and his wife, Cindy, have been running Bauer Auction Company in the county since 1995.

Bauer, a Republican, received 385 votes (70.13 percent) to Slama's 164 (29.87 percent)

Bauer said he was pleased with the number of people who came out for the election. He said his main priority coming into office will be improving the county's gravel roads. 

“I was surprised there was that big of margin,” Bauer said about the election. "I was very happy with the turnout of our district and I was very surprised I got 70 percent of the vote.”

Slama said one of the things he's most proud of during his tenure in office is the construction and completion of the county's new jail. He said the hardest thing he experienced while in office was the unexpected passing of Sheriff Mark Hecker in 2014. The former Butler County sheriff suffered a heart attack.

Board chairman David Mach, of Linwood, said Slama was currently the longest serving member of the board.

"Kevin did good job. He was always there when we needed him,” Mach said. “I’m hoping these other two gentlemen who come on to the board will be just as good, or better.”

Also in this year's election, Republican Anthony Whitmore ran against Democrat Irvin Cidlik for the District 7 seat on the board. District 7 encompasses the southern portion of Butler County and includes residents of Dwight, Loma, Surprise and Ulysses.

Cidlik of Dwight, 76, held the seat for 16 years until losing to David Potter in 2014’s primary election by two votes (96 to 98). Incumbent Potter announced he would not run for re-election this year after accepting an assistant manager job for the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District.

In this year’s election, Whitmore received 61.76 percent of the vote (357) and Cidlik 37.72 percent (218).

Instead of celebrating, Anthony Whitmore spent the morning after the election retrieving his campaign signs. He said he picked up about 60 signs posted around the county promoting his campaign, an effort which appears to have paid off. 

Whitmore, of Dwight, 31, grew up in the village of Western and has lived in Butler County for the past four years. He formerly worked as a drug recognition officer and sergeant for the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked in law enforcement for 10 years and is currently a federal background investigator. 

Whitmore said he anticipated it being a tight race and was happy with the results. 

“Very exciting to hear the results,” he said. “It’s been a long year.”

Elections this year were also held for the District 1 and District 5 seats on the board. All incumbents in those elections ran unopposed. Mach and Republican Scott Steager, of David City, will retain their seats for another term.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News Review.

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