PRINCETON — Republican Princeton Common Councilman Greg Wright is the new mayor-elect of Princeton and fellow Republican and Oakland City Fire Chief James Deffendall will move from the firehouse to City Hall in Oakland City.
It's a repeat of an old headline in The Daily Clarion of the 1960s, with new faces in 2019.
Tuesday's municipal elections gave Wright a 1074-714 win over Democratic candidate Dan Beard, while Deffendall's win over former Democratic Oakland City Mayor Gary Bise came at a 341-116 margin.
Wright was relieved after election results rolled in Tuesday night. "I feel like it was a bunch of work and it paid off," he said. "I want to thank of course God for the opportunity, my wife Megan for backing me and putting up with my crazy ideas and I want to thank Dan Beard of course for running a really clean and positive campaign."
Wright said he and Beard, his Democratic opponent for mayor, both agreed Princeton would be better off no matter who won.
Wright spent his evening in the standing-room only Montgomery Room, many of its occupants dressed in "Elect Greg Wright" t-shirts. "It was good to have the support of my family who were all here, which was awesome," Wright said. "Some of my best friends were here. Without a support group like that, you know, it's tough to get anything done, so that was huge."
Wright said it's an exciting time for Princeton, as so many positive things are taking hold.
"We've got some big announcements coming up in the next number of weeks that are going to be pushing this community forward in a huge way," he said.
As he moves from his city council seat to the mayor's seat, he'll have a lot of familiar faces to work with. All of the incumbent city council members retained their seats, which will leave him with five experienced council members to work with. The one new face will be in the at-large seat, which Nick Burns (R) won Tuesday night.
"We all have experience and we all have success together, so it's going to be an easy transition," Wright said. "We're not going to miss a beat. "
In Princeton's council races, Democrat Jan Ballard garnered 300 votes undefeated for his re-election to District 1, while Republican Bill Tuley bested Democrat James Wilkerson 252-197 for the District 2 seat. Democratic incumbent Jim Maglis defeated Dennis Gray 319-237 for the District 3 seat, and Democratic incumbent Sheri Greene defeated Republican Roland Wagner 199-142 for the District 4 seat.
Republican Nick Burns won his first election as the new at-large representative on the council, defeating Democratic candidate James Price 966-492. Burns is taking the seat that Wright will vacate at year-end when he moves into the mayor's office.
Republican Mindy Brines led all ballots, unopposed in her bid for re-election as Princeton's Clerk-Treasurer with 1466 votes.
Deffendall beat Bise 341-116 for his first term as mayor, while Democrat Susie Basham won election as Clerk-Treasurer unopposed, garnering 357 votes.
Deffendall spent Tuesday evening "on cloud nine" after winning the race.
"I'm glad the people of Oakland City entrust me to be their mayor," he said. "I want to be the best mayor I can be and represent our community, to better our community."
Deffendall said he was thankful for the support from his fellow candidates, even those who did not have opposition in their own races.
"I just can't thank people enough," he said.
He said they've all been working since the primary and it's awesome to get ready to work with them. "I'm looking forward to meeting with them the first of the year and starting off on the right foot and moving forward," he said
Deffendall said it will be a tough job, but he plans to give it everything he has.
"The campaigning part is done, that's right," he said. "But the work is just beginning and I'm going to work every day my hardest to work with people and to help our community grow and move forward."
For the Oakland City Council, Charles Cochren was unopposed for election to the at-large seat (283 votes). Republican Alfred Cooper Jr. won re-election to District 1 without opposition (88 votes). In District 2, Republican Michael McGregor won 66-33 over Democrat Brenda Willis, and in District 3, Republican George Armes was re-elected unopposed (89 votes). For the District 4 seat, Republican Seth Woolsey defeated Democratic candidate Steven Uppencamp 115-25.
Republican Vanessa Riggs defeated Democrat Tammy Patterson 143-54 for Owensville's Clerk-Treasurer office. Dwayne Matsel and Phyllis Gene Mayberry were elected to town council seats without opposition. Republican Clyde Scott, who resigned his town council seat, garnered 117 votes unopposed for re-election.
In Fort Branch, Democrat incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Stacy Elpers won re-election unopposed, while former town marshal Rick Sides (D) defeated Scott Michael (R) 208-153 for the Town Council District 2 seat. Incumbent Adam Bledsoe (R) won re-election unopposed to the District 3 seat.
In Hazleton, Democrat Marcia Hall beat Republican Carol Taylor by one vote, 38-37 in the Clerk-Treasurer race. Democrats Richard Ellis (58 votes), Rachel Byrns (52 votes) and Clarence Cornwell (44 votes) each won an at-large seat on the town council. Republican Justin Ice finished fourth with 36 votes.
In Francisco, Democratic incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Jonnie K. Watkins won re-election unopposed, and the town council's three at-large seats were won by Republicans Raymond Dunn (55 votes), Steven Krieg (69 votes) and Harold Everett (53 votes). Republican Leo McDonald finished fourth with 47 votes.
See precinct charts for each candidate.