The 2015 general election has come and gone, and it’s brought with it a few surprises, especially on Ripley Village Council.
Challengers Bill Taylor III and Tiffany Regenstein were the top two vote-getters on the November 3 election, earning seats on the village council. They beat out Judy Brooks, Kathy Lewis, and incumbent councilwoman Linda South, who finished last out of the five running for two council seats.
Taylor earned 241 votes, good for a hair over 27 percent of the vote, while Regenstein won 216 votes, or a little more than 24 percent.
“I was just extremely thankful that enough people thought well enough of me that I would do a good job for the village to be on village council,” Taylor said of his emotions when he found out he won a seat on village council. “I didn’t really run what you would call a traditional campaign for a lot of reasons, and I just feel fortunate enough that people in the village wanted me on village council. I feel very honored, especially being someone who wasn’t born here. I moved here with my wife and this is where we want to raise our children.”
Regenstein said that her election victory came as a happy surprise to her.
“I was completely shocked,” Regenstein said. “But I’m very excited that I got elected, and I look forward to serving the village, working with the council members now, and making Ripley a better place to live and improve on the things they’re currently working on.
“I think (the election win) showed all the hard work that I did throughout the last couple of months, and I think it really did pay off.”
In the mayoral race, it was one of the closest races in recent years in Ripley, as Tom Leonard was re-elected by only 41 votes over former councilman Scott Eagen.
In Leonard’s three previous mayoral races, he was either the only candidate on the ballot (2007, 2011), and in 2003, Leonard beat out former mayor Rod Scott and William Rick Hughes by a large margin of votes.
“I campaigned as much as ever,” Leonard said. “I tried to speak to as many people as I possibly could. You see a lot of people in and out of the city building but then there’s a lot of people that you never see. I was very relieved to win. It was definitely a tight race and a clean race.”
While Leonard looks forward to working with and getting to know the two new council members, he said he would miss working with South and Daniel Dragoo. Dragoo declined to run for re-election.
“I think they’ve been very important, both of them,” Leonard said of South and Dragoo. “They’re going to be missed.”
In an uncontested election, Jeff Wilson and Jeffrey T. Cluxton both won re-election to the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington School Board of Education. Cluxton won 1,282 votes, a hair above 61 percent, and Wilson won 818 votes, nearly 39 percent.
In Aberdeen, Jason Phillips won an uncontested election to become the village’s official mayor, while challenger Tony Combess and incumbent Billie Eitel won election onto Aberdeen Village Council, beating out challenger Wanda Perraut. Combess won 218 votes, or nearly 40 percent, and Eitel scored 180 votes, nearly 33 percent. Perraut, the wife of departing councilman Jim Perraut, won 150 votes, more than 27 percent.
The election results are all unofficial totals. The final results will be confirmed on November 17, 2015.