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MAYORS WIN RE-ELECTION
By T.L. Petersen
Observer Staff Writer
With unofficial final election results for Union County and its communities released just before 1 a.m. this morning, three incumbent mayors felt relief, even as they started thinking about the changes in their city councils.
Island City, Elgin and Union voters all returned their mayors to office with large majorities. Mayors in Cove and North Powder were unopposed in their re-election bids.
But there will be changes in both Elgin and Island City on their city councils, and Elgin's Mayor Boots Churchill is already promising to try again, at the next election, to get voters to agree that the city administrator's position should not be an elected position.
In Island City, 52.43 percent of the voters, 248 of them, returned Mayor Dale DeLong to office.
Thirty-five votes behind, challenger Sandi Donnelly finished with 45.03 percent of the vote.
"I'm feeling pretty good," DeLong said this morning, admitting he'd followed the election returns at home by computer, checking Union County's Web site.
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DeLong felt enough things had been discussed during the campaign that "could have swung the election either way."
Donnelly, who had to resign her Island City council seat to run for mayor, will be replaced by Donald W. Anderson, if the unofficial tally hold. Anderson received 189 votes, while Tony L. Boyd garnered 183 votes
in one of the county's closest elections.
Andy C. Younggren, an incumbent Island City councilor, held off a challenge by Michael J. Donnelly, to keep his seat, 235 votes to 183.
Joyce Lee Beeman was returned to the council with 72.51 percent of the vote in her unopposed re-election bid.
DeLong, who said he doesn't like the mudslinging of many recent political campaigns, was disappointed with the results of a five-year local option tax measure to support the Island City Cemetery.
With the defeat, 610 to 486, DeLong said he doesn't know what the cemetery will do, but can guess.
"It's going to be the minimum. There will be no equipment repairs of maintenance. What we have is going to be spread thin."
For Elgin's Mayor Boots Churchill, who hadn't been following election tallies during the night, the news that she had been re-elected, 354 votes to 183 for challenger Malcolm "Mac" Letts, was nice. But she was more concerned about her new council and the local measure regarding the administrator's position.
A field of six candidates for three council position left Churchill sure that "it's going to be a real good council," she said.
Elected to Elgin council positions were auto parts dealer Mike Schmittle, Carmen Gentry and incumbent John L. McElravy.
John Stover lost his bid for re-election, and neither Connie S. Tucker or Shannon Pallis pulled enough votes to earn one of the three available seats.
Total votes were: Schmittle, 322; Gentry, 299; McElravy, 276; Stover, 268; Tucker, 238; and Pallis, 151.
"It's been real wonderful to have people go out (for council seats) these last four years," Churchill said. "I think we're going to go forward this year, as we have been the last few years."
Of more concern to Churchill was the Elgin voters' rejection of a change to make the city recorder/administrator's job a hired position, rather than an elected one.
"I wanted it to go through," Churchill said, "I pushed real hard for it."
Churchill worries that someone could get elected in a "popularity contest" without the needed knowledge of city budget and other business.
"I'm afraid of getting someone in and it being a real problem," she said, promising to try to get the change approved in a future election.
Union election results put incumbent Mayor David Thomas back in office with 53.37 percent of the vote, or 467 votes.
Former mayors and challengers Susan M. Briggs and Luverne G. Moore collected 199 and 163 votes respectively.
Thomas was unavailable for comment this morning his family reported he was already at the Union Public Library this morning.
In a Union council race, Roger Clark pulled in 427 votes to defeat challenger Everett "Butch" Hancock, 233 votes. Also elected were unopposed council candidates Jack Zimmerman and Tod Hull.
In other communities in the the county, Summerville has two four-year city council position vacant, while North Powder voters returned Mayor Carrie Crook to her position with 69.48 percent of the votes. North Powder also has two vacant council positions, while Neal Chamberlain was elected to a four-year term.
Cove voters re-elected Mayor Richard Thew with 181 votes, and put James L. Lundy on the council with 190 votes.