In Creston’s city election, write-in mayoral candidate Gabe Carroll edged out incumbent mayor Steve Wintermute by a 116-vote margin to win the Creston mayoral race Tuesday night.
For Creston’s city election, 1,767 of 6,147 eligible registered voters cast their vote. In 2015, only 626 of the city’s eligible registered voters showed up to the polls to cast their vote.
The unofficial tally for Carroll and Wintermute was 600 and 484, respectively. Mayoral candidates Jim Stalker and Jack Willis trailed behind with 365 and 107.
Carroll’s win was the result of a grassroots effort spearheaded by Katie Davidson, who asked Carroll if he would accept the position if support was rallied. The effort was made in an attempt to keep Ron Higgins and MaKenzi Vonk – who were in a contested race for an At-Large seat – on the council. The idea was to move Carroll out of District 3, hope Higgins won and then hope Vonk is appointed to Carroll’s vacant seat should he win.
“I was suprised as I didn’t know if we’d started too late in the process to let people know they had another option,” said Carroll.
Carroll hosted an open forum at A&G Restaurant and Lounge Monday evening to field questions from voters and broadcasted it on Facebook Live for at-home viewers. Willis, who only garnered 107 votes but received positive feed back on his debate performance from attendees said he will consider a council seat.
“I think with my past and where I have came from and what I do, I could bring a new perspective to the council,” he said.
Steve Wintermute said he felt and still feels he is the best candidate and contemplated if use of social media would have made a difference in his campaign.
“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Wintermute said. “I think the new mayor is smart enough and I hope he has enough time.”
Jim Stalker expressed a similar sentiment.
“I was out of my realm I guess,” said Stalker.
Stalker said as soon as I heard Carroll was a contender, he knew he “was beat.”
“I was a little disappointed,” said Stalker. “I went through the process, so did Steve and so did Jack. Gabe came in as a wild card and he took it.”
Carroll was appointed to the council in May 2015 by then mayor Warren Woods to fill a vacancy in ward 3 left by Ann Levine, who was required to resign after moving out of the ward. Former council member Steve Wintermute has served as Creston’s mayor since May 2019 after former mayor Gary Lybarger relocated out of state.
In Creston’s city council race, former Ward 1 Representative Ron Higgins won the Council At-Large position with 1,075 votes, bumping MaKenzi Vonk – who received 455 votes – from the position, which she was appointed to in June and is set to expire Nov. 15. Remaining on the council are Ward 2 Representative Rich Madison and Ward 4 Representative Brenda Lyell-Keate, whose terms were set to expire Dec. 31.
Voter turnout shattered the 2015 election, with 28.7% of registered voters casting ballots. In 2015, 13.1% of registered voters showed at the polls.
In Creston’s city election, John Kawa of Creston Park and Rec board remains with 1,426 votes; he ran uncontested.
Creston’s three bond measures failed by lack of support. Sixty percent of the vote was needed for each to pass. The unofficial totals for each bond items are: the McKinley Park Aquatic Center, 47.35%, McKinley Lake restoration, 56.5%, and the renovation and expansion of Gibson Memorial Library, 49.1%.
Michelle Burger maintains the mayoral seat with 66 votes. Ten write-ins were cast. Mary Hill and David Cunningham remain At-Large council members with 53 and 57 votes. Steve Kinyon joins the council At-Large with 71 votes.
Nineteen votes were cast for mayor and 36 for Council At-Large. Winners not declared at time of publication.
Duane Adamson remains mayor of Cromwell with 27 votes. Eric Millslagle, Robert Hepp, Curt Angell, Amy Angell, and Roger Millslagle remain on Cromwell City Council. Each received 27 votes, except for Hepp, who received 26.
Tim O’Neil remains on the Lorimor City Council with 26 votes. Stacy Tucker joins Lorimor City Council with 26 votes. Thirty-two write-ins for Council At-Large reported.
Terry Gilbert remains mayor with six votes. Three write-ins for mayor were reported. Randy Lilly remains as Council At-Large for a four-year term with six votes. Glen Hoyt, Robert Arnold and Clay Arnold remain At-Large with two-year terms with five, two and six votes, respectively.
Jennifer Mitchell maintains her position as mayor with six votes. Deana Welcher, Britanee Ward-Case, Karen Mitchell and Les Vanderpluym maintain their At-Large positions with seven votes each. Skip Mitchell received seven votes and joins the council as At-Large Representative.
Brad James and Don Gee maintain their positions in the Creston Community School Board of Directors with 1,318 and 852 votes, respectively. Twenty-nine write-ins were reported.
Shannon Harper, District 1, Ben Clear, District 3, and Sam McKnight secure their placement on East Union Community School Board with 63, 33 and 30 votes, respectively.
Monty Douglas and Jake Tripp secure positions on Lenox School Board of Directors with one vote each.
Murray School District had three open positions and no votes reported. Candidates were Tara Page, Staci Heaberlin, Dennis Jeter, Andrew Eckels, Sarah Dinham and Angela Miller-Flaherty.
Orient Macksburg School Board of Directors has one open position in District 2 with no votes reported and no candidates listed. District 3 candidate Eldon Ray and District 4 candidate Jana Scott did not receive any votes.
Southwestern Community College Board of Trustees maintain Jane Ernst, District 1, with 64 votes and John Cass, District 8, with 1,328 votes. Fred Shearer in District 2 did not receive any votes.