Supporters cheered as Fourth Ward City Council challenger Ian Thomas defeated incumbent Daryl Dudley in a tight race. He won by almost 3 percent over his opponent. Bill Weitkemper trailed both candidates all evening, finishing with 7% of the vote.
Thomas, who has never served in public office before, was almost speechless from the win. “There are lots of important issues for Columbia ahead," he said. "I think I’ve got some good ideas, and I also know what the fourth ward residents want to see happen.”
Dudley says though he's disappointed, he also sees the positive of his loss.
“I wish it had turned out a little bit different, but I'm okay with it,” he said. “I can go home and spend some time with my wife.”
Dudley's wife is a two-time cancer survivor.
Dudley held his watch party at Rio Grande, hosting around 25 family members and friends. The crowd remained relatively quiet all night as Dudley fell behind after the first round of results.
Meanwhile, the third candidate for the Fourth Ward council seat Bill Weitkemper had only 7 percent of the vote. Weitkemper pointed to what he considered to be an obvious reason for his defeat; money.
“I didn’t have but about $6,000 and I think both Daryl and Ian both had $24, 25, 26,000,” Weitkemper said.
For his part, Thomas said he doesn’t have any specific goals yet. But he mentioned that the Providence Road congestion problem and the Grindstone Break Time are important issues.
“I’m going to make sure I understand those issues thoroughly, and be ready to discuss those and cast the right vote.”