Siloam voters elect mayor, city director
Posted: August 17, 2012 at 9:06 a.m.
The original headline on this story erroneously stated that the mayor was re-elected. The error has been corrected.
SILOAM SPRINGS Voters elected John Turner as mayor and Bob Coleman as city director after they took more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary Tuesday.
Turner received 539 votes, or 67 percent of the vote, and Coleman had 412 votes, or 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Votes will be certified after 5 p.m. Friday.
Turner, who represents ward 1 on Siloam Springs Board of Directors, said he was humbled by the margin of voters who supported him, and he thanked his wife, Kathy, for her support.
“I’m appreciative of the confidence the voters had in me,” Turner said. “I’m just blown away really.”
In a primary, candidates need 50 percent of the vote plus one vote to be elected without having a runoff, City Clerk Peggy Woody said. A runoff would’ve taken place at the general election when the city board candidates for positions 5 and 6 are voted on.
In January, Turner will move to the mayor’s seat at the center of the semicircle boardroom table while Coleman will take the position 7 seat on the right end of the table.
“I’m excited about it,” Turner said. “We’ll start budget talks in a month.”
Turner said he’s glad the race was one after which candidates can still be friends.
Turner ran against Position 7 Director Mark Long, who received 90 votes or 11 percent of the vote, and Ben Jones, who received 172 votes or 21 percent of the vote.
“I was disappointed,” Jones said. “I was hoping we could get to the runoff.”
Jones said he plans to run for Turner’s seat when it opens up for election.
“I just thank people,” Jones said. “They can still believe in my vision. I’m still going to champion to keep our city business-friendly and family-friendly.”
A special election for Turner’s ward 1 seat will take place after the first of the year, said Connie Neu, deputy city clerk. Two more years will remain on the term when Turner moves to the mayor’s seat.
Long thanked supporters “for all the hard work and support.”
He said he likes being a public servant, and there’s “a good possibility” that he’ll run again.
“It was a good turnout,” Long said.
Turner said it was about what he expected, “which is unfortunate.”
According to election results, 13 percent of registered voters voted.
Sharon Rose of Benton County Election Commission said voter turnout for the 2010 primary was 17 percent.
Coleman ran against Don Cundiff, who received 169 votes or 21 percent of the vote, and Lesa Brosch, who had 206 votes or 26 percent of the vote.
Coleman said was pleased with the outcome of the vote but was disappointed in voter turnout.
“Sometimes we’re easy to criticize but not easy to participate,” Coleman said.
Coleman said he thanks supporters “from the bottom of my heart” and quoted an Olympic athlete: “When the prayers go up, the blessings come down.”
Coleman said he looks forward to meeting the people who need to talk to him and get in the chair and do a good job.
“I wish him all the luck,” Cundiff said about Coleman. “I hope he keeps all the people in mind when he votes on something.”
Cundiff said he wasn’t expecting third place and had hoped to receive enough votes to require a runoff.
“I received quite a spanking,” Cundiff said. “I think the heat had something to do with it.”
He would’ve liked this election to take place in the general election in November and a runoff happen after that, if necessary.
“People are focused on November,” he said.
Cundiff thanked supporters and said a woman, who nearly came to tears, asked who would look out for them.
“They had so much faith in me,” he said. “I was going to be their champion and speak for them.”
Cundiff said he will continue to attend the city board meetings as a member of the audience.
He’s considering to run for Turner’s seat went it becomes vacant in January.
Brosch said she appreciated all those who supported her.
“I wish more people would vote, but I am encouraged by the people who did,” Brosch said. “Thank you to everybody.”
She’s thinking about whether she’ll run again. This was her third time to run for city board.
“I had a lot I wanted to give back to the community,” she said.