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Hayes leads all candidates in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — A political novice had the most votes in a field of five candidates following early returns for City Council Tuesday. The top three voter-getters will gain the four-year seats.

Paul Hayes had 663 votes for 21 percent of the early total, followed by Councilman Dan Winterburn with 607 votes and former Mayor Jim Lewis with 592 votes. David Jesser was close behind Lewis with 581 votes, while Councilman John Dodero trailed the field with 498 votes.

"Even if I don't get any more votes I might be on the council," said Hayes, the only candidate without prior city government involvement. "That's very good news."

Hayes said voters told him they wanted a change in the way city government operated, and are concerned about finances.

"I was pretty one-issue," said Hayes. "We have to match services with income. We just bought two things with balloon payments so we have $400,000 due with no income."

Hayes said former Mayor Lewis had given the city's administration extensive control of government during his 14-year tenure.

"My whole thing was, let's get the City Council doing the job of running the city and asking the questions that need to be asked," said Hayes. "We just can't keep spending money."

Winterburn also stressed fiscal conservancy and said he was glad to hear of Hayes' showing. Winterburn was appointed to council in 2008 after narrowly losing an election bid in 2007.

"Paul and me and some other people, perhaps we can shed some light on things for the betterment of Jacksonville," said Winterburn.

"I'm trying to preserve our history without spending all our money.

"We have too many ideas and too many special-interest groups right now," said Winterburn. "People need to think like statesmen and work for the good of the city."

A write-in effort by Jerry Mathern apparently came up short. Early results showed only 8 percent of voters on his side.

Mathern announced his write-in candidacy in mid-October. He had been appointed to fill a vacancy on council in early September after Councilwoman Linda Meyers resigned in July. Mathern, who served on council from 2000 to 2004, was approached by citizens to run for a seat.

Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker said a board to count write-in votes will come in either today or Thursday.

Christina Duane was unopposed in her bid to fill the remaining two years on Meyers' term beginning in January. She has served on the town's Historic and Architectural Review Committee.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.