Staying positive, Atchison defends mayor's seat

Mayor defeats challengers as Pinter, DeMott and Skulley claim council seats

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Saying he wanted to stay positive, Mayor Herb Atchison said he's ready to work with the new City Council.

“I just refused to get into personal attacks,” Atchison said. “That wasn't appropriate. There was a lot of misinformation going out, and I refused to run a negative campaign.”

Atchison, the incumbent, handily defended his seat against challengers Bruce Baker, a member of the outgoing City Council, and newcomer Rich Seymour. Of the 19,427 ballots cast in Jefferson and Adams counties, Atchison had claimed 47.5 percent as of about 8:12 a.m. Nov. 8. Baker had 26.3 percent and Seymour 26.2 percent.

Baker, the sitting councilor giving up his seat for the mayoral run, was the most active candidate, calling out Atchison, his City Council and Westminster City staff as deceptive and unprofessional. Baker stood opposed to the Westminster Downtown Development as well as plans to hire a single trash-hauler for the entire city.

Baker said Tuesday he was surprised more people didn't turn out to vote.

“I said earlier in the campaign, my biggest opponent was apathy,” he said. “I think turnout was something like 23 percent and that tells the story. And that's really amazing given the turnout concerning single-hauler trash.”

Baker said he saw things very differently from his council colleagues, voting against many city initiatives.

“Now that voice is gone,” he said. “It's what the people voted for. Let me phrase that differently: It's what the people who cared enough to vote, voted for. If we have three out of four voters who don't care, that is very powerful information.”

Seymour said his first step into politics proved to be an interesting experience.

“I really did jump right into the deep end,” he said. “It was interesting that there were things, inside-politics things, that were kind of nasty and I was surprised by that. But it was a great, eye-opening experience. I love Westminster, and that's why I did this in the first place.”

In the race to fill the emptying City Council seats, incumbent Emma Pinter and candidates Dave DeMott and Kathryn Skulley were leading the balloting for the three at-large council seats as of 8:12 a.m. Wednesday, according to City of Westminster City Clerk's office elections webpage. Pinter had 20.1 percent of votes by Wednesday morning, DeMott 18.1 percent and Skulley 17.5 percent.
Candidates Mark Clark and Lindsey Smith each claimed had 15.7 percent and Jackson Dreiling had 12.8 percent at 8:12 a.m. Wednesday.

Atchison said he was looking forward to working with all three winning councilors.

“Of course, Emma is coming back,” he said. “David has been very involved in the city for years. Kathryn is the newcomer, but I'm sure she'll jump right in starting tomorrow.”

City Clerk Michelle Parker said the new council will be sworn in at the City Council's Nov. 13 meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Following are results in races to fill the four open seats on the Westminster City Council as of 8:12 a.m. Nov. 8. Open seats include the position of Mayor and three at-large City Councilor seats.

Mayor (19,427 ballots cast)
Herb Atchison: 47.5 percent
Bruce Baker: 26.3 percent
Rich Seymour: 26.2 percent

City Council
Emma Pinter: 20.1 percent
David DeMott: 18.1 percent
Kathryn Skulley: 17.5 percent

Lindsey Smith: 15.7 percent
Mark Clark: 15.7 percent
Jackson Dreiling: 12.8 percent

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