GENEVA – Michael Abts defeated incumbent Mark Wissing in the Geneva Township road commissioner race, with 1,965 votes to 1,435 in unofficial totals late Tuesday.
The race ratchted up tensions in the past two weeks, with Abts critical of Wissing's spending, based on receipts he discovered through Freedom of Information Act requests. Abts did not return several voicemail messages seeking comment. Wissing, who served one term as highway commissioner, said he wished Abts "the best of luck."
"I was honored to be able to serve and proud of what I did," Wissing said. "And I hope Mike has the same successes."
As to the issues of the race – which became contentious between the two – Wissing said, "It is what it is. I hope Mike does a great job. I enjoyed it. Now I get to spend more time with my lovely and beautiful wife."
As to his future in politics, Wissing said he might be done with it. Wissing also served a four-year term as Geneva Township trustee.
"I enjoyed it," Wissing said. "I served eight years. I have volunteered myself my entire life in the city of Geneva. I think it's probably time for me to enjoy some retirement from politics."
As to whether he would consider running for public office again, Wissing said he would have to re-evaluate that possibility.
What became key in the road commissioner's race was Abts' contention that Wissing spent money unwisely, in particular, by hosting a luncheon in 2011 for other highway commissioners and transportation officials for $700 and spending more than $500 to have invitations designed.
Wissing conceded that perhaps he should not have spent that much on the invitations, but that township road districts take turns hosting luncheons. The luncheon was a review of new federal regulations for street signs.