The current Fourth Ward Columbia City Council member will now serve the city another three years after being re-elected Tuesday.
Council member Ian Thomas won his re-election campaign against opponent Daryl Dudley. Thomas beat Dudley 3,773 votes to 1,946.
Dudley suspended his campaign in late March after Thomas’s campaign filed a complaint concerning the Dudley campaign’s contribution reporting.
Since Dudley’s suspension occurred so late in the election cycle, his name still appeared on the ballot.
Thomas’s numbers were strong even in the beginning of the night. By seven p.m., Columbia’s absentee ballots were already in and had Thomas ahead of Dudley.
Although the early poll results were promising, Thomas said he was more encouraged about a potential victory a few days earlier while campaigning.
“The moment for me was probably a couple when I started door to door campaigning in some of the neighborhoods closer to downtown and it seemed that everybody that I talked to and even people walking by on the street or bicycling by or driving by were cheering me on and I felt I had a lot of support in the fourth ward,” Thomas said.
Thomas’s watch party in downtown Columbia at Coley’s Bistro had family members, friends and even supporters waiting for the results. Two of the attendees, Amy and Ryan Pescaglia, were publically supporting a city council candidate for the first time.
“I’m a supporter of Ian because I’ve had problems and he’s really listened and I think he’s a hard worker," Amy Pescaglia said. "I just really feel that he’s a worthy candidate. He works for his ward and cares about the issues.”
Although it was Election Day, Thomas didn’t do too much out of the ordinary.
“I had to work at my job in the morning," Thomas said. "I did some door to door campaigning in the afternoon. I also listened to my soccer team in England. They had an important game that I listened to on the radio."
Thomas said one of the first things he wants to do now that he’s re-elected is work on the development permitting process.
“I’m involved in a couple of projects right now where we’re getting a really open, transparent, collaborative negotiation between developers and the neighborhoods and their representatives to try to reach a consensus on some of the parameters," Thomas said. "I want to continue to research that process and then start putting into place some polices that will make that a normal process that allows residents to have input."