Story by Chris Graham
Nikki Armentrout couldn’t believe it was over.
But after her resounding win in Tuesday’s polling in the six-candidate Waynesboro circuit-court clerk race, Armentrout – a deputy clerk in the office for four years – was back at work.
“It’s going to be business as usual,” Armentrout told The Augusta Free Press.
She was talking about the immediate term – Armentrout will assume the duties of circuit-court clerk in January; until then, she will be preparing herself to succeed the woman who hired her, Jeanette Akers.
But she could have been talking about what will take place after Jan. 1 as well.
“The transition won’t be as extreme as it could have been,” Armentrout said, touting her experience as a deputy clerk in the office that seems to have been the key to her election victory.
Despite not getting a single local-newspaper endorsement – and losing in her bid to receive the nomination of the Waynesboro Republican Committee – Armentrout received 43.1 percent of the votes cast, more than double the number of votes received by runner-up Bruce Allen.
“Of course, we would’ve worked to help whoever would have won to get ready for the transition,” Armentrout told the AFP.
“But we’re not going to have to focus on that at this point.”
Her first point of activity will come in the area of personnel.
With the retirement of Akers and another long-time deputy clerk in the office – and Armentrout’s bump up to the clerk job – she has two job slots to fill in January.
“And we’re losing 60 years of experience within two months of each other. That’s a tremendous loss to have to deal with,” Armentrout said.
“But again, that’s why I think experience was an issue in the campaign. We were going to have to fill those jobs anyway. It could’ve been more difficult if we had to make a major transition at the top as well,” she said.