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HARDINSBURG, Ky. (WDRB) -- In a contentious and hotly-contested election, Breckinridge County voters approved package liquor sales in a special vote Tuesday. The vote means residents will be able to buy beer and other liquor in the county later this year.
Some described arguments before the wet-dry vote as a "intense" and a political "war." Results were close. Fewer than 240 votes separated the sides: 3,142 "yes" in approval, and 2,908 "no" in disapproval, according to Breckinridge County Clerk Jill Irwin.
"There's been a lot of heat on this issues you might say," Irwin told WDRB News during an interview Tuesday.
The vote means Breckinridge County is believed to be the 40th Kentucky county to allow at least partial liquor sales. The measure would take effect once county leaders establish rules and receive guidance from state officials with from the Alcohol Control Board. It would allow sales of packaged liquor within 90 days in the county, according to County Judge Executive Morris Lucas.
It will not change the city of Hardinsburg's 2010 election results allowing liquor-by-the-drink at restaurants within its limits.
WDRB's Bennett Haeberle reported tensions brought about defaced, and in at least one case, a campaign sign that was shot full of holes.
Hand-painted campaign signs littered sections of highway in Breckinridge County. Local clergy members, who were largely opposed to the measure approving alcohol sales, said the political fight was intense.
Layman Lucas, a life-long county resident, was opposed to the measure. He described himself as a Christian and argued that approving alcohol sales would not help the local economy as promised. He says it would lead to "fights and dancing girls" that would be detrimental to the young people in the county.
A few miles down the road, Craig Brown grinned while admiring his yard sign that read "vote yes to alcohol." The contracting worker said it sometimes takes him 45 minutes round trip to drive to Meade County if he wants to buy beer.
"I don't see it leading to strip clubs or anything like that," Brown said. "I feel like our county deserves to be a better. Right now we're just giving our money to (the neighboring counties).
Judge Executive Lucas said the county has 60 days to implement the measure. He said it would likely be three months before the first packaged liquor sales occur here.