Wind energy opposition candidates win seats

CLINTON — People posting to the Facebook page of DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines celebrated online late Tuesday as candidates they supported for county board all won seats.

In county board District B, candidates backed by the group, incumbents Terry Ferguson (1126 votes), Christina Pruser (1055 votes), and challenger Travis Houser (1083 votes), took the three available seats.  Incumbent Randy Perring (621 votes) lost his bid for reelection.

In District D, challengers Nathan Ennis (915 votes), Dan Matthews (852 votes), and incumbent Melonie Tilley (907 votes) took the three seats up for reelection in the district.  Incumbents Sue Whitted (670 votes) and Cris Rogers (626 votes) lost reelection.

Tilley was supported by the group for her position on proposed changes to the county’s wind farm ordinance, which wind farm developers say would kill the Alta Farms wind energy project.  Developers must apply for special use permits required for the project.

The group also backed challengers Dan Matthews and Nathan Ennis, although, in the Clinton Journal Candidate Questionnaire Forum, Ennis responded he did not have a position on the wind energy project.  Ennis and Matthews both responded in the questionnaire that they sought to protect property rights of all county residents, a key talking point among the wind energy opponents.

Opponents hope to elect more new county candidates during the next round of board elections in 2020, some hoping it will end the wind energy project entirely.

Among opponents’ concerns are the visual affect wind towers could have on the landscape, shadow flicker and noise, among other issues.

The effect of wind turbines on wildlife also is a concern of the group.

Proponents of the wind energy project cite the potential of $1 million a year in additional tax revenue for the school district as a positive point of the project. 

Current county board members came into office following a tumultuous two-year period dominated by a group of self-described reformers, who swept into office on the landfill PCB issue.

Voters subsequently tossed those members out in favor of the current board. 

Incumbents, county clerk Dana Smith and county treasurer Gloria Wills ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election.  Mike Walker ran unopposed for DeWitt County Sheriff.  Current sheriff Jered Shofner announced his retirement in 2017.

DeWitt County cast 6,274 votes out of 11,083 registered voters for a turnout of 56.6 percent.

Election results are not yet certified.

All DeWitt County results are available at

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