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Write-in candidate takes top spot in Salem

by Davin White

STAFF WRITER

SALEM -- Write-in candidate Rick Todd was unofficially declared the winner in the race for mayor of Salem Tuesday.

"I don't know what to say. I'm kind of overwhelmed by it," Todd said.

Todd was elected mayor by 74 votes (163-89) in the race with current city council member Sheldon Dolly.

He said various members of the Salem business community and other townspeople were in charge of organizing the write-in campaign.

"This all came from the support of the community," Todd said.

Serving as fire chief of Salem for the past 20 years, Todd said he knows the city fairly well. His experience, he said, will help him as mayor.

"I don't think I'm going into it blind," Todd said.

The city council must canvass all votes at its next meeting, City Clerk Kim Hinerman said.

Three candidates won positions on Salem's city council.

In the 2nd Ward, councilman Bill Swiger defeated John Pethel in a close race, 42 votes to 37 votes.

Swiger, a council member since 1997, said he wouldn't have minded what the outcome of the race had been.

"It was close," Swiger said. "Either way, I would have been happy."

He said he was happy he ran for another term and only wished more people would run in local elections.

"That's the sad thing, so few people run," Swiger said.

However, he's glad that many people did come to the polls Tuesday.

Numerous issues, such as Salem's sewage problems, still need to be seriously addressed, Swiger said.

Two city council candidates also won in uncontested races.

First Ward incumbent Bradley K. Eddy won election to the council with 60 votes.

Third Ward and first-time candidate Laura Yokochi also won election to the council with 56 votes.

About 28 percent of registered voters (257 of about 900) in Salem showed up for the election, Hinerman said.

Staff writer Davin White can be reached at 626-1448.

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