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Lewis claims last council seat in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — Former Mayor Jim Lewis captured the third and final City Council seat by five votes over David Jesser in results released early Wednesday evening.

Lewis also closed to within seven votes of incumbent Dan Winterburn, who claimed the second best tally in the at-large competition.

"It looks like Jim is going to be serving as the other councilor," said Jesser. "I wish him lots of luck. He's a good man. I congratulate the victors at this point."

Lewis has 691 votes for 18.68 percent while Jesser, a planning commissioner, garnered 686 votes, or 18.54 percent. Winterburn has 698 votes for 18.86 percent. Political newcomer Paul Hayes topped the field with 783 votes for 21 percent.

"I think that's enough to carry me through," said Winterburn. Lewis could not be reached for comment.

A battle for the third position in 2008 wasn't settled until December that year. Donna Schatz claimed the seat over Winterburn with a swing of five votes in her favor in an automatic recount triggered by close numbers. Winterburn was subsequently appointed to fill a vacant seat on the body.

The numbers could change between now and Nov. 22, when Jackson County must certify official results, said County Clerk Chris Walker. Absentee ballots, ballots left with other county elections offices that are forwarded to Jackson County and ballot signature challenges can change results, Walker said.

An automatic recount is performed when the difference in votes between two candidates is less than 0.2 percent of all ballots cast for both candidates. In this year's contest, a three-vote or less difference would bring a recount. A candidate may pay for a recount if the margin is greater than the three votes.

From the initial count, there was never more than an 11-vote spread between Jesser and Lewis. A 2 p.m. Wednesday count showed Jesser behind by a single vote.

Council incumbent John Dodero trailed the field with 591 votes. Christina Duane was elected to a two-year seat formerly held by Councilwoman Linda Meyers, who resigned in July. Duane was unopposed for the position.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.