In the race for Madison County Board Chairman, incumbent Alan Dunstan and Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler garnered nearly equal number of votes from their respective parties in the March 15 primary election.
Both candidates said there was an unusually high voter turnout for the primaries. Dunstan attributes the surge to the excitement over the presidential primaries, while Prenzler sees the increase in Republican votes as a vote against “professional politicians.”
“In Madison County, more people voted Republican - in a county which is run by a Democrat machine,” Prenzler told the Record in an emailed statement.
Dunstan, however, has rejected the idea that the board is a partisan body.
“If you look at most of the votes we have on the board floor, party ID doesn’t make a difference.” Dunstan said. “When I meet with someone who is just coming into the County Board, the first thing I tell them … is to just forget if they’re a Democrat or Republican and just support their districts as best they can.”
Dunstan has served as County Board Chairman since 2002.
The two candidates have traded jabs recently over alleged misconduct on both sides. Last year, records were found that showed Dunstan used his county credit cards for personal expenses, though he reimbursed every expense. Dunstan countered that the records, which were requested by Prenzler, were an example of the treasurer using his staff to perform “campaign activity” to review over 8,400 pages of credit card statements.
In a public letter, Dunstan criticized Prenzler for using the credit card allegations to deflect questions about a $450,000 verdict in a discrimination suit against the treasurer.
In his bid for the Board Chair, Prenzler touts his accomplishments as treasurer, which includes cutting 30 percent from the office’s budget and investing more of the county’s money into local banks.
Dunstan, on the other hand, said Madison County is “one of the best counties in the state” under his watch, noting that tax levies have been cut three times during his tenure in office.
“I'm going to try to run a clean campaign and work hard and just do like I've always done in past,” Dunstan said.