POLK COUNTY -- The race for the Republican nomination for Polk County Commission Position No. 2 was a close one, but Craig Pope now feels comfortable saying he won.
The final unofficial count posted May 28 has Pope winning by 83 votes, with 2,357 to Dave Weston's 2,274. Mark Adams followed with 1,999 and Steve Bailey had 802.
Weston said Friday he was expecting Pope to end up on top.
"It was a good race," he said, "a good, clean campaign, and that's what happens."
With election results all but final, Pope and Democratic nominee Danny Jaffer are turning their attention to November.
Jaffer said his campaign will focus on land use and water resources. Providing good governance -- elected officials who represent all citizens in the county, not just those who elected them -- will also be a theme in Jaffer's campaign.
Pope said pushing research on water resources to the forefront is among the major points of his campaign.
"Water is one of the issues that Polk County will be facing in the near future," Pope said.
Jaffer and Pope both cite the funding for local government as an issue in the race.
Pope said he will try to find ways to balance the budget without raising taxes. He said the trade off for keeping taxes steady is reducing or eliminating services.
Jaffer said he believes the county's budget committee has been very thorough and responsible this budget season and he plans to maintain that theme. He believes the economy will take a turn for the better, but not before county leaders will have to make difficult choices on cutting programs.
Pope said the campaign will highlight very distinct differences between himself and Jaffer.
On that point, the nominees agreed.
"I do think there will be a clear choice for people to make, and that is a good thing," Jaffer said.