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Republican candidates make history in commission races
By Hannah Mask -

RUSSELLVILLE — For the first time in years, residents of Franklin County elected all three Republicans in contested races to the County Commission.

Incumbent probate judge and Franklin County Commission Chairman Barry Moore defeated Democrat Connie Green, securing 56.7 percent of the vote to Green's 43.2 percent.

Democrats William Bishop and Randy Hargett lost their bids to the District 1 and District 3 commission seats, respectively.

Republican Chris Wallace won 52.4 percent of the vote for the District 1 commission seat while Republican Rayburn Massey won 55.9 percent of the vote for the District 3 seat.

Massey, who served on the County Commission from 2004-08 as a Democrat, said to his knowledge, there had not been a Republican elected to the commission in his lifetime. He said the younger generation's political views were changing the outcome of the vote.

"They have a different perspective and values than what some of the older generation had in the past," Massey said. "I think the people of Franklin County are beginning to align (themselves) with (the representation) we already have at the state and the federal level."

He added that this could prove helpful when trying to secure grants in the future. Massey said he wanted to thank the residents of Franklin County, as well as Hargett.

Wallace also thanked the people of Franklin County, as well as his wife and children, who regularly gave him updates on the race as the results were tallied.

"I've never done this before, and I didn't know what kind of chance I had at winning," Wallace said. "(I feel) excitement."

He said the idea of returning to Christian values is what many people had in mind when they decided to vote Republican. He said he did not have a bad word to say about Bishop.

"Me and William ran a clean race — I respect him, and he's a good man," Wallace said. "I don't have a cross word with him. I'm looking forward to getting more jobs in Franklin County and working hard for Franklin County."

Moore pointed out that all but one commissioner — District 4 Commissioner Don Hastings — will be new to their position. Moore said his five years of experience in his current position might have played an influence in helping him secure his seat for 2012-16.

"I want to thank my family and friends who have helped me campaign and the voters who turned out," he said. "It's a humbling experience for people to put their faith in me."

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