ANDOVER — There isn’t enough room on the bench for two town judges in Andover, so Republican voters had to choose between incumbent James Ames and challenger Steven Heckman during Tuesday’s primary.

The unofficial totals have Ames with a two-vote lead, 47-45, with any absentee, military and overseas ballots to be tallied next week.

Ames said he doesn’t know whether there are any absentee ballots in the primary, but will be following the results very closely.

“I think one of the issues was an issue of residency or experience,” said the Scio resident. “I don’t live in Andover. I went to Andover 17 years ago as an appointed justice. The home rule was suspended so I could run. Here we are 17 years later and I‘m still here. I really want to continue that. I’ve gone four terms, so that’s 16 years. The year I was appointed would have been the 17th.”

The incumbent said he has served has served as a judge in different areas, including Alma and Wellsville as an acting judge and is an elected judge in Scio as well as an acting judge in the village of Andover. Ames said he hopes to continue as town justice in Andover for another term.

“I like the town of Andover, I’ve been there 17 years,” he said. “It’s just a fact of life that we have to run for election to keep our jobs. “I appreciate the support that I got in the primary. Support is still needed for the election in November.”

Ames and Heckman are both running on independent party lines as well — Ames on the Justice for All line and Heckman on the Home Rule line.

Ames noted there was a low turnout at the polls Tuesday and said it could be because there was no larger elections with primaries to bring out the voters.

“I think it was low all over because of it being a midterm election. I think every contest was low. It’s a non-preidental election year.”

Heckman, currently in his fourth term as village justice in Andover, said he has been in that position for almost 14 years. He said the town justice race is the first time he’s had to run in a primary.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would do quite well. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Heckman said he and Ames are friends and that he isn’t running against Ames because he doesn’t him to continue as town justice.

“In Andover, we’re a small town and I think it’s time we started consolidating some services. The biggest problem with these small towns is budgets are tight. I’m from Andover and I’m all about, ‘The judge in Andover should live in Andover.' That’s why I ran,” he said.

The low turnout surprised Heckman too, the candidate said.

“It must be that people didn’t realize the primaries counted as much as they do,” he said. “I should have been more involved in getting people out to vote. I didn’t really want to pester people, but I guess I should have. It’s a pretty interesting situation with voting. You get a feeling of how things are going to go, but you just don’t know.”

In other Republican primaries Tuesday, the results were as follows (leading vote-getters in bold):

Alfred

Councilman (vote for 2)
William Cleveland, 66
Matthew F. Snyder, 54
Jamie Mansfield, 41
Write-in, 1

Allen
Superintendent of Highways (vote for 1)
Josh Wilcox, 12
Richard Hunt, 10

Angelica
Councilman (vote for 2)
Skip Hecker, 172
Girard P. Kelly, 146
Daniel Hanchett, 45

Wirt
Town Supervisor (vote for 1)
Curtis A. Rung Sr., 34
Tricia Grover, 24