DELBARTON - Longtime Delbarton Mayor John Preece lost his re-election bid on Tuesday, losing to write-in candidate Elmer Ray Spence.
The unofficial final tally had Spence with 69 write-in votes, while Preece received 63. However, there were 11 challenged ballots to be considered. A canvass of votes will be held Monday, June 17, at 3 p.m. at City Hall.
"We still have a canvass to go through," a happy Spence said of the win. Spence had served as mayor several years ago.
"Anytime, whether you are a write-in candidate or on the ballot, you are surprised to win," Spence said. "A few people had asked me to run. I thought I had the time to serve, so I decided to enter the race."
"I would like to really thank everyone who worked so hard to get the word out about the write-in campaign. I'm looking forward to working with the council and the people of Delbarton," Spence added. "I'll know more about our vision and what our plans are after July 1st."
Preece had served 22 years as mayor of his hometown. Before that, he served two years as the town's recorder for a total of 24 years of service. He is the longest serving mayor in the history of Delbarton.
"Congratulations to all the winners in the city election. Small turnouts generally favor the challenger and I wish the incoming administration well," Preece said. Preece conceded and congratulated Spence via social media on Tuesday night after the votes were counted.
Six candidates were running for five council seats in Tuesday's election.
Robert Hunt, a former fire chief for the Delbarton Volunteer Fire Department, was the lone challenger for one of the council positions. He was one of the top five in challenging the five incumbents. Hunt had served on the town's council in the past.
The five incumbents are Joe Crum, Mark Sizemore, Albert Totten, Glen Dale Canada and Ralph Maynard. Crum came in sixth in the race for the five seats. However, the vote totals are close and a canvass could bring some changes, especially with the provisional votes.
Maynard was the top vote-getter with 103, followed by Canada with 99, Hunt with 93, Sizemore with 65, Totten with 61 and Crum with 59.
Rebecca Fouch was unopposed for town recorder. She received 90 votes.
Kyle Lovern is editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at 304-236-3526 or via email at klovern@HDMediaLLC.com