Denison city officials held a drawing Monday afternoon to determine the order in which the five candidates vying for a single city council seat will appear on the ballot this May. The special election will be held to determine who will serve a single-year unexpired term in Denison's at-large Place 6 seat.
Unlike most other council seats in Denison, Place 6 is one of only two at-large positions on the council, outside the mayor, that represents the whole city and is not restricted to where in Denison a candidate must live. As such, all residents of Denison will be able to vote on who will take this position.
“I think part of it is because it is at large, which has a far larger pool than a single member district,” City Secretary Chris Wallentine said of why there was such interest in the position. “However, I think a large part is because of all the exciting things we have going on in the city.”
The ceremony was only attended by one candidate, Brian Hander, who will appear fifth on May's ballot.
“People remember the first and the last thing they read, so I am pretty happy about it,” Hander said with a laugh, following the drawing.
The top spot on the ballot was won by Zoning Board of Adjustments member Jason Parks, who was the final candidate to register to run in the race. The second spot was won by Donald Ashley, with former Denison Coach Rayce Guess taking the middle slot. The fourth and fifth spots were won by Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Charles Shearer and Hander, respectively.
Beyond the five registered candidates, Wallentine said one other individual picked up candidate paperwork while a second expressed interest in the race in mid February, but did not return paperwork in time for the deadline.
Wallentine said this may be a prolonged campaign for some candidates. Due to the number of candidates, it is possible that no one candidate will have the votes needed to win the election outright, Wallentine said.
“Any way this turns out, I see it resulting in a runoff,” she said.
In the event of a run off, Wallentine said the two candidates with the highest percentage of votes will move on to a second election in June to decide who will take the seat. During a meeting Monday, the city council approved an ordinance setting a time and terms for the runoff election, if it does occur.
The race for Place 6 began in January when Janet Gott, who currently holds the seat, announced her resignation in order to run for mayor of Denison as current Mayor Jared Johnson has reached his term limit. As Gott was the sole candidate to register in the mayoral race, she will become the next mayor following the election.
In addition to the mayoral position, the election for two other seats has been cancelled due to uncontested races. Obie Greenleaf will be replacing Bill Malvern, who has reached the end of his term limit, for the council Place 2 seat and Teresa Adams will retain her position in Place 1.