Ognio swamps incumbent Hearn, Barlow defeats Huddleston for 2 Fayette Commission posts

The two men, Randy Ognio and David Barlow, ran their first political races this summer, but they have been familiar faces at the Fayette County Commission for the past two years. Both regularly criticized the incumbents for the West Fayetteville Bypass, lack of transparency to the public and what they considered the board majority’s lack of regard for the average taxpayer.

Tuesday, they overwhelmed their opponents in the Republican runoff, ousting incumbent Lee Hearn and stopping a political bid by Fayetteville attorney Sheila Huddleston.

Both will have another four and a half months of watching the lame ducks — Hearn, defeated Commissioner Robert Horgan and Chairman Herb Frady, who declined to seek reelection — run the commission until Dec. 31.

Ognio and Barlow are expected to join newly elected Charles Oddo and incumbents Steve Brown and Allen McCarty in forming a new majority on the commission, one expected to exhibit a decidedly different tone than the current controversial board.

The clean sweep of the commission represents a personal victory for the man his opponents labeled “Boss Hogg” in a scathing political ad before the July 31 primary — Harold Bost.

Bost, himself a former commissioner, has put his money as well as his mouth behind the primary winners, as he did for Brown and McCarty two years ago, spending thousands in print, direct mail and signs boosting his candidates.

Bost says after this runoff he plans to “retire” from active politics. His political foes likely hope he is true to his word.

With 36 of 36 precincts counted Tuesday night, Ognio, an electrician, beat incumbent Hearn by nearly 4,000 votes, while videographer Barlow outdistanced Huddleston by more than 2,000 votes.