A three-term incumbent will return to office and a newcomer to Ashland politics will find his place at the helm following Tuesday’s town elections.
In a three-man race for Ashland Town Council, incumbent mayor, Faye Prichard, and James Murray secured enough votes to take the two open seats.
According to Teresa Smithson, registrar, a total of 430 voters cast ballots at the Ashland precinct Tuesday while 28 voted absentee. Smithson said there were 4,014 eligible voters that could have voted in the town election, making Tuesday’s turnout 11.4 percent.
Though turnout was light, Smithson added that from her perspective everything ran smoothly.
“We had zero provisional ballots. Everyone had their IDs. We had no problems at all,” Smithson said.
Overall, Prichard had 38.9 percent of the vote, followed by Murray with 34 percent and former, one-term council member Terri Winston-Abri with 26.4 percent, according to the state board of elections unofficial results. There were also a total of four write-in votes.
“I just want to thank everyone who helped me campaign, and everyone who came out to vote. I am completely mindful that this job I love so much is a trust and a stewardship role and am very grateful to be returned to it,” Prichard said Wednesday morning. “A long time ago, I had a boss who, whenever an employee succeeded at something, he’d say, ‘Congratulations. You get to keep your job!’ Back then it didn’t feel so great. Today, I am very, very grateful that I get to keep my job.”
The Herald-Progress could not reach Murray Wednesday for comment. Murray, a media specialist at Randolph-Macon where is also an alumni, campaigned on a pro-small business platform, with an emphasis on expanding local Internet options. He also emphasized strict adherence to the town’s comprehensive plan as a way to make sure the town grows responsibly.
Terms on town council last for four years and elections are staggered. The next town elections will occur in spring 2016 when three seats will be up for grabs, those currently held by Steve Trivett, George Spagna and Edward “Ned” Henson III who took their seats in 2012.
Once the new candidates assume office, town council will have to vote on who will serve as mayor and vice-mayor, posts currently held by Prichard and Spagna, respectively.