JACKSONVILLE — Incumbent Paul Becker easily won election to the mayor's seat Tuesday over Councilman Jim Lewis, a former mayor.
In a 10:24 p.m. tally from the Jackson County Elections Division, Becker received 871 votes, or 62.5 percent of the total, while Lewis had 502, or 36 percent.
"I'm thinking perhaps some people may have felt I had a new regime that was going in the right direction, so let's continue what we are doing," said Becker.
Becker was appointed mayor in January 2011 when the former mayor resigned. Becker had been elected to the council in November 2008.
"This is far bigger for me," said Becker. "The citizens said we approve and keep it up."
Becker said he will form a mayor's advisory committee and continue to maintain regular office hours at City Hall.
Lewis served as mayor from 1995 through 2008 and was on the council from 1986 to 1995. He was elected to a four-year council term in 2010 and will remain in that position for the next two years.
"I was a little surprised at the margin, but I'm not overly shocked," said Lewis.
Newcomer Criss Garcia and incumbent David Jesser were the top two vote-getters in balloting for three at-large City Council seats. Garcia had 874 votes, 23.8 percent of the total, while Jesser received 797 votes, 21.7 percent.
"I was surprised to be the leading vote-getter," said Garcia. "The people have spoken here and I am humbled and encouraged. I'm excited for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."
"I appreciate the fact that people appreciate what I do," said Jesser. "I look forward to serving the city over the next four years."
Late Tuesday, a 14-vote margin separated two candidates for the third seat. Jocie Wall had 699 votes, or 19 percent of the total, while Owen Jurling claimed 685 votes, or 18.7 percent.
If recent elections are any indication, the outcome may not be known for a while. In both 2008 and 2010 determination of who won the third council seat did not occur immediately because of close vote totals.
Wall was aware of her tenuous position.
"I've had fabulous support. I'm thrilled and honored to be in third at this point," Wall said after the first round of results were released. "Hopefully the people felt I'm there to represent them."
Jurling wasn't ready to concede the race.
"I definitely hope that I get in. It was a very good learning experience and good for all the people that supported me," said Jurling. "All the votes aren't in yet."
Katie Haugse received 438 votes, 11.9 percent of the total. A sixth candidate, Bill Hampton, remained on the ballot although he opted out of campaigning. Hampton received 156 votes.