JAMESTOWN – Jamestown’s next mayor will be Democrat and local attorney Eddie Sundquist. Sundquist was announced the winner of the 2019 mayoral election Tuesday night, defeating both Republican and Chautauqua County legislator David Wilfong and Libertarian and current Jamestown City Councilman Andy Liuzzo.
Sundquist took 49.8% of the unofficial vote total, bringing in 2519 votes, while Wilfong came in second with 1959 votes, which was 38.7% of the vote. Meanwhile, Liuzzo came in a distant third with 11.4% of the vote (574 votes). Approximately 204 absentee ballots remain to be counted.
Following the victory announcement at Democratic Headquarters inside the Jamestown Brewing Company, Sundquist thanked those who helped to make him mayor elect.
“We fought long and hard, starting way back in the winter months. I can tell you that I am probably the proudest that I have ever been to see all of you here gathered to support what we are going to do for the future of the city of Jamestown,” Sundquist said. “I just want to say from the bottom of my heart ‘thank you’ to each and every single one of you who made this happen. Family, friends, volunteers, countless hours on the phone, knocking on doors, on social media – we could not have brought the city of Jamestown into the future without each and everyone of you. So for that, I thank you.”
Sundquist also said that in the coming weeks he will be working to prepare for the transition into the mayors office when he replaces current Mayor Sam Teresi, who decided not to run for a sixth consecutive term, on January 1, 2020.
“We have a long road ahead but we are going to do this and hopefully, we get through these four years and then work four more,” Sundquist said.
It was Sundquist’s second run for office in as many years. In 2018 he made an unsuccessful bid for Congress, failing to get the Democratic Party’s endorsement in that year’s primary.
CONTROL OF CITY COUNCIL TO BE DECIDED BY ABSENTEE BALLOT COUNT
While Sundquist was able to win the Mayor’s office, it’s not yet known if he will be working with a Democratic or Republican-controlled Jamestown City Council. That’s because the council is split with four Republicans winning and four Democrats also winning, with the ninth and deciding race still too close to call.
In Ward 1, Republican incumbent Brent Sheldon (355 votes) leads Democratic Challenger Tim Smeal (348 votes) by just 7 votes. The outcome of that race won’t be known until absentee ballots are counted and according to the Board of Elections, 70 absentee ballots are left to be counted on Monday, Nov. 18.
City Democratic Chairman Jim Walton said he and the rest of the party are anxiously awaiting the results for the Ward 1 race.
“It looks like the fight for control of the council will come down to absentee ballots because we’re within several votes there. That Ward has always lived and died by the absentees that have come out of the Aldren Avenue area,” Walton said. “We’ll look forward to counting those and hopefully Tim Smeal did his work there and we’ll come out victorious. That will be the difference in who controls the city council.”
OLSON, RUSSELL WIN FIRST TERM ON CITY COUNCIL
Meanwhile, one of the ward races featured a challenger defeating an incumbent. In Ward 5, Republican Grant Olson (495 votes) was able to defeat Democratic incumbent Maria Jones (397 votes). Jones was first elected to the city council in 2011 and since then she’s served as chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee and has also served on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.
In the only other contested ward race, Democrat and current City Council president Marie Carrubba (630 votes) defeated Republican challenger Brittnay Spry (576 votes).
In the race for the council’s three at large seats, it was newcomer Republican Jeffrey Russell (2483 votes) joining fellow Republican and incumbent Kim Ecklund (2721 votes), along with Democratic incumbent Tamu Graham-Reinhardt (2173 votes) winning.
Those failing to get enough votes to be elected to the at large seats were Democrats Greg Rabb (2026 votes) and Taylor Scott (1985 votes) along with libertarian Raven Mason Thompson (293 votes). Republican Greg Lindquist, who withdrew from the race earlier this year, also appeared on the ballot and was able to garner 1966 votes.
Candidates running unopposed this year were Tom Nelson (D) in Ward 6, Vickye James (D) in Ward 3, and Tony Dolce (R) in Ward 2 – although another person, Democrat Thomas Vitale, also appeared on the ballot for that office. However, Vitale had announced his withdrawal from the race earlier in the year.