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Council gets five new members

Nov. 07, 2012 @ 02:10 AM

HUNTINGTON — Five new faces will join Huntington City Council in January, but a few are already familiar with the workings of city government.

With all 40 city precincts reporting in Cabell and Wayne counties, Democratic incumbent Rebecca Thacker (6,767 votes) was the leading vote-getter in the City Council at-large race, according to unofficial results. Democrat Dave Ball held on to the second at-large seat with 6,584 votes. Republican Cal Kent finished third with 5,693 votes, followed by Gordon Ramey, another GOP candidate, with 5,517 votes.

Ball, a retired Huntington firefighter of 23 years who now runs a catering business with his wife, said he thinks his knowledge of city affairs and business experience was key to his victory.

“It’s very gratifying to know that the citizens put their trust in me,” Ball said. “Hopefully, we can work with the new mayor and make positive changes for Huntington.”

In addition to the at-large contest, there were six contested district races Tuesday.

In District 2, Democrat Pete Gillespie Jr. defeated Republican Tom McCallister. With all four precincts reporting, Gillespie received 762 votes to McCallister’s 471. Gillespie will replace incumbent Teresa Loudermilk, who lost in the primary election. The district covers most of Huntington’s West End.

With all four precincts reporting in District 3, Democratic incumbent Frances Jackson (432 votes) defeated independent candidate Pete Gillespie Sr. (169 votes). It will be the Jackson’s third consecutive term representing District 3, which includes downtown from 1st to 18th streets between the Ohio River and 8th Avenue.

In District 4, Republican Gary Bunn (1,139 votes) edged Democrat Steve Phipps (934 votes) with all five precincts reporting. Bunn will replace Councilman Nate Randolph, who did not run for re-election. The district includes most of the Southside west of 8th Street, Harveytown, and a small portion of the South Hills area above Ritter Park.

Democratic incumbent Scott Caserta (868 votes) was elected to his third consecutive term in District 7, defeating Republican challenger B.J. Ellis (434 votes). District 7 includes parts of Walnut Hills and Beverly Hills and a small portion of Fairfield East.

Democrat Tom McGuffin (566 votes) defeated independent candidate Dick Strode (333 votes) in District 8, which includes Highlawn and a portion of the downtown area from 18th to 22nd streets between the Ohio River and 8th Avenue. McGuffin replaces Councilman Kirk Gillenwater, who lost to McGuffin in the primary.

And in District 9, Democrat Rick Simmons (773 votes) defeated Republican Sherry Lynn McClanahan (643 votes). The district includes Guyandotte, Altizer, a small portion of Highlawn between 28th and 31st streets, and the Arlington Park subdivision in the Beverly Hills area. Simmons will replace Councilman Jim Insco, who could not run again because of term limitations.

The council members elected Tuesday will join three incumbents who were unopposed. They include Joyce Clark (District 1); Sandra Clements (District 5); and Mark Bates (District 6). The new council officially takes office Jan. 1.