The official election results for Post 3 and Post 4 of the Richmond Hill City Council are in.
Jimmy Hires retained his seat on Post 3 with 507 votes versus 216 votes for challenger Van Hunter. The four-way race for Post 4 ended up as follows: incumbent Billy Albritton 264 votes, Marilyn Hodges 254, Kevin Artz 108 and Darryl Peterman 85.
Albritton and Hodges are now slated for a run-off on Dec. 4 to decide the final winner.
All the Richmond Hill candidates said they were pleased with the record high voter turnout, with over 700 residents casting their ballots this time out.
The one clear victor in the Richmond Hill races, Hires, said his secret to success was "I knocked on over a thousand doors and made hundreds of phone calls, and the people came out to vote. I appreciate the overwhelming support."
His opponent, Hunter, said the voter turnout made his run for the seat a satisfying experience.
"Was it worth it? Absolutely," Hunter said. "The high turnout was even more impressive when you think about the fact that this is an off-year that doesn’t include the mayoral race. Even though 700 people came out, there are 4,000 people registered so there’s much room for improvement. It’s a sad thing that so few people decide for the entire city. This election was an uphill battle, but I will be back again in two years."
Albritton said the voting results were a good sign for the current regime. He commented on some misconceptions that exist regarding city council.
"As I’ve been campaigning, I was confronted with issues like school overcrowding and upcoming subdivisions on county property – which council has no control over," Albritton said. "I tried to give a clear picture of what we do and the progress we have made over the past couple of years. I was very pleased with the election results, and I hope to have as good a turnout for the run-off."
Many were surprised that Hodges, a new face on the political scene, garnered such a large number of votes. She attributes much of her success to tirelessly campaigning, which she said was seven days a week of knocking on about 2,800 doors. Her two young sons, Jaydon and Logan, were with her during this venture.
"I was very shocked at the separation of only 10 votes between Billy and me," Hodges said. "I thought it would be a much wider margin since Billy has been a councilmember already. I will say this about residents of Richmond Hill – they made my campaigning so enjoyable. No one slammed their door or got nasty with me. They listened to what I had to say and the voting turnout makes me think that many agree with my platform. I didn’t make any promises or kiss any babies – although I did get kissed by a dog. The run-off day is also my birthday, so hopefully I’ll get a really good present by winning the race."
Another political rookie, Kevin Artz, said that in spite of the recent loss, his political days have just begun.
"This was definitely a learning experience and I appreciate all the support that I did get," Artz said. "I wish the best to all the other candidates. I’m just thrilled with the large number of participation for such a small town. I will absolutely do this again. This was just to test the waters, so you’ll be hearing my name in the years to come."
Petermann also said he will give it another shot in the future, and plans to remain involved in local issues. He is contemplating keeping his website, www.rhbuzz.com, running in order to keep tabs on local issues.
"This was a clean campaign all the way around which was really nice," Petermann said. "Congratulations to the winners and I wish the best of luck to the two remaining runners. May the best candidate win."