The only contested Republican to win a bid in the city of Marietta on Tuesday, Sherri Hess said it was her experience that carried her in the race for city auditor.
Hess defeated independent challenger Dana Singer with 2,185 votes (57.41 percent) to 1,621 (42.59 percent).
"When I was going out campaigning door-to-door, experience is what people kept telling me they wanted and that's what they got," Hess said after the election Tuesday.
Hess, 51, has worked in the city auditor's office for the past 30 years and served as the office's chief deputy since 1996. The auditor position was left vacant after former Auditor David Locke resigned earlier this year to pursue another career.
"I think that especially in these uncertain economic times and with so many changes coming (in leadership at city offices), that it is important to have someone in this office with an understanding of the current situation, as well as how we've dealt with issues in the past," Hess said.
Singer, 33, had never held a political office but won the support of a number of voters based on her military career and background as a lawyer.
Sherri Hess: 2,185 (57.41 percent).
Dana Singer: 1,621 (42.59 percent).
Singer said she was grateful to her supporters.
"I'm still relatively new here, don't have anyone I've worked for to throw support my way and people had to go out and support me on faith," Singer said. "This has been an exciting experience and I'm grateful to all those who supported me."
Husband and wife Zane and Colleen Kesselring, of Marietta, said they canceled out each other's vote in the city auditor's race.
Both stressed the importance of the city office. The auditor is responsible for preparing city budgets, financial forecasts and for estimating revenues and costs at the city.
"The auditor's office is kind of the pulse - an indicator of the health of our finances," said Zane Kesselring, 55. "We need someone to keep a close eye on our finances."
He said he has known Hess for many years.
"She's worked in that office a number of years and has the experience," he said.
Colleen Kesselring said she supported Singer in Tuesday's race.
"She's a veteran and a lawyer and I have been really impressed by her," she said. "I believe she has what it takes to lead that office."
Denise Sutton, 52, of Marietta, said she was impressed by both candidates in the auditor's race.
"It isn't very often you have a race where both candidates are both good, solid candidates," she said. "Sherri obviously has the experience but Singer is a lawyer and a veteran, having performed her civic duty, too."
Sutton declined to say who she supported.
In campaigning, Singer said the auditor's office is using antiquated accounting practices and computer systems. She vowed to bring updated practices and systems to the office, including putting up-to-date user-friendly reports online.
Hess acknowledged she would like to add an integrated budgetary and payroll computer system at the office.