The campaign was long and heated, but Tuesday night’s election results ended all the drama for city government races in Urbana.
According to unofficial results released by the board of elections, incumbent Republican Mayor Bill Bean held off a fierce challenge by Independent candidate Justin Weller: 1,249-1,018.
“I think everything we’ve done here in Urbana has been very positive. Our infrastructure is so old and we need to replace it. We provide services to the city: police, fire, water, sewer, parks, streets,” Bean said after being re-elected. “I’m not a social justice warrior. That’s what (Weller) wanted to do. That’s great, but the city of Urbana is a business and we provide services to the citizens. I’m glad the citizens see this and re-elected me.”
Bean said his administrative team will remain in place and he has confidence in them to continue serving the citizens.
”We’re going to keep the same group in leadership to take care of the citizens of Urbana. We have a really good team,” he said.
Weller had championed higher wages in the city during his campaign as well as cutting expenses within the city government.
“Raising the minimum wage … isn’t really part of what we do,” said Bean. “If state and fed want to do it, fine. But that’s not part of the city’s duty. Yes, we have people in poverty. But we are the county seat and we have all the social services needed for people. We’re only 12 miles from dismal Springfield and their people come up here and want our services.”
Bean stands by his work with the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve the 10-year-old roundabout with upgrades that have stretched from spring until now. The project is nearly finished, but Bean admitted the prolonged inconvenience gave him the jitters as an incumbent mayor.
“I knew the roundabout was the best thing for the community, and even though some people wanted the traffic lights back, we knew ODOT wasn’t going to change the roundabout back at all. They knew the problem of several highways crossing each other in Urbana. I’m proud of what we’ve done for Urbana and I thank the voters for acknowledging that.”
Weller said after the vote tally Tuesday night that his “Urbana Wins” platform needed higher voter turnout in order to prevail.
“Obviously the results are not what we wanted. Over 1,000 people showed their support for me. High voter turnout was key and this wasn’t quite as high as we wanted to see,” Weller said. “The challenge in off-years is getting voters to show up. We have a meeting set up for next week to decide our next steps, and our movement is still alive.“
In addition to the mayor’s race, two at-large council seats involving two other “Urbana Wins” platform candidates were in play and the 4th ward seat was also contested on Tuesday’s ballot.
Incumbent Pat Thackery defeated Cassandra Cress 1,239-997 for one at-large council seat. Mary Collier defeated three other candidates for the other at-large council seat. Collier had 676 votes, Teresa Beverly 627, Al Evans 514 and Richard Kerns 423.
Cress and Beverly were part of Weller’s platform team.
Richard Ebert defeated incumbent Ray Piper, 248-145, to win the 4th ward council seat.
Marty Hess and Cledis Scott were re-elected to council seats with no opposition.
In St. Paris, Mayor Brenda Cook retained her seat, defeating challenger Gary Doeden, 224-221.
In Mechanicsburg, challenger Benjamin Layne defeated incumbent Mayor Greg Kimball, 195-156.
In North Lewisburg, Cheryl Hollingsworth defeated Shawn Feeley, 210-70, for the mayor’s office.
In Christiansburg, Delbert Davis defeated Rebecca Davis, 119-75, for the mayor’s office.