The race for Denison’s Place 6 City Council seat ended in a run off Saturday, however the two candidates moving on still remains uncertain. When the votes were counted Saturday night, only two votes separated second and third place with the possibility of additional votes being counted Monday.
County election officials said the final results will come in Monday after the final mail ballots are counted. Due to recent legislation, officials said ballots received the day after the election must be counted. As such, the race could be determined by any remaining mail-in ballots.
“At this point in time, we need to just sit back and see what the county says,” Charles Shearer, who is running for the city council, said in a phone interview Saturday night.
As of Saturday night, Shearer led with 247 votes, or 33.24 percent, with Rayce Guess and Brian Hander receiving 218 and 216 votes respectively. Jason Parks and Don Ashley received 47 votes and 15 votes, respectively.
The runoff will occur as no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the votes. The two candidates with the highest number of votes once final totals are tabulated will go on to a second election in June.
With the high number of candidates in the race, Shearer said he anticipated that the race would end in a runoff. Looking forward, he said his next move would depend on who he will face in June.
“Our game plan will vary depending on who we are going against,” he said.
As Place 6 is an at-large seat, which is not limited to a specific geographic area, the race was open to individuals from across the city. That likely resulted in the high number of candidates who registered to run for the seat. Likewise, voters from across Denison were able to cast their ballot in the race.
Looking back at the election, Shearer said name recognition may have played a role in the tight results.
“I think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that I have my work cut out for me,” he said.
Calls to Guess for comment Saturday night were not immediately returned.
For his part, Hander said he was uncertain what the next few days would hold. With the possibility of additional votes, Hander said he wasn’t sure how the results would fall.
“I was told when we started that two people voted by mail,” Hander said, later noting that those votes may have been included in the early voting.
Despite the possible loss, Hander said he appreciated the opportunity to get out and meet with other residents in Denison throughout the race. Hander would not rule out the possibility of a future run for city council, noting that it would depend on the time and the race.
Parks also did not rule out the possibility of a future race for city council. As the current race is to fill the final year of an unexpired term, Parks said he would consider running for Place 6 when it is up for election again next year.
“Well, of course either one of those guys up there will be a fine city council member,” Parks said, referring to Guess, Shearer and Hander.
Ashley did not seem bothered with the results of Saturday’s election, and instead said that he enjoyed the opportunity he was given.
“I had a lot of fun running,” he said Saturday.
The race opened in January when Janet Gott, who previously held the seat, resigned from the seat to run for mayor of Denison following the end of Mayor Jared Johnson’s term limit for the position. As there were no opposing candidates in the race, the city canceled the mayoral election and accepted Gott as unopposed.
Gott is expected to take over the role as mayor on May 14 when the council canvasses the election results.