HUNTERSVILLE – The town board will have a new commissioner in 2014, but much of the dais will stay the same.
Five incumbent commissioners – Melinda Bales, Danny Phillips, Ron Julian, Jeff Neely and Sarah McAulay – retained their seats, while newcomer Rob Kidwell finished sixth to defeat incumbent Charles Guignard in the Nov. 5 election.
Bales’ 3,032 votes were 229 more than Phillips, her nearest competition. She’ll serve as mayor pro tem by virtue of receiving the most votes.
Julian finished third with 2,477 votes, followed by Neely (2,328), McAulay (2,277) and Kidwell (2,255). Guignard lost the final spot on the dais by just 44 votes.
Nick Walsh (1,725), Franklin Freeman (1,416) and Lawrence Brinson (1,143) rounded out the 10-candidate race.
Bales was first elected to the town board in 2011. The only difference in her campaign this year, compared to her first election, was that she began using advertisements. She didn't use them in 2011.
“I did a lot of the same things I did last time,” Bales said. “I was out there meeting as many people in the community as possible. That's something that's very important to me.”
She didn’t expect to be the highest vote-getter in the election.
“You’re always surprised to see that kind of an outpouring,” Bales said. “I’ve always been the type of person who wants to serve the community well. I’m honored and I’m humbled to see the community wants me back on the board, and I’m definitely going to do my best to help the town.”
Kidwell’s election to the board, Bales added, will give the dais a fresh perspective.
“Rob will bring some new ideas to the board,” she said. “From the times I’ve spoken with him I’ve learned he’s very intelligent and is a valuable asset to the community.”
Kidwell was thrilled to join the town board.
"I'm extremely humbled to be elected," he said. "I'm going to stick to the facts and hopefully get our town moving in the right direction."
Like Bales, Kidwell admitted his election was a pleasant surprise.
"The key, I think, was getting out there early and getting my name out to residents as much as possible," he said. "I always expect to do my best. The votes laid where they did, and I'm ready to get started."