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Coombs appears set for council slot

CENTRAL POINT — After waiting for write-in results to be tallied and some deliberation over residency requirements, City Council members will be asked to endorse the filling of a vacant council seat.

Central Point resident Paul Coombs, whose father-in-law is state Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, was chosen by voters to fill the Ward 4 council seat after incumbent Alan Broderick opted not to file paperwork for re-election.

While Coombs was elected via write-in Nov. 6, city recorder Deanna Casey said city officials took some time to ensure Coombs could verify residency. Coombs moved to Central Point in 2010 but almost immediately left to spend a year in China.

Casey said council members would review a resolution Dec. 13 accepting the results of the election.

As long as Coombs provides paperwork proving he has lived in any part of the city for at least 12 months, and lived in Ward 4 at the time of election, he will be eligible to serve.

As part of the process, Coombs was asked to update his voter registration and provide paperwork showing a Central Point address dated earlier than November 2011.

A marketing consultant for nonprofit groups, Coombs said he decided to seek the position just a week before Election Day.

"I saw no one was running for my ward so I was like, 'Hey, I'd like to get involved in my community. I had actually thought about it a few days before and when I realized the position was available I thought, 'What a coincidence,' " Coombs said.

"I handed out fliers door-to-door and emailed people that I knew."

Coombs said Richardson, who started his own political career with a term on the Central Point City Council, encouraged him to get involved.

"It was something that has always intrigued me," Coombs said. "... and he said, 'No one is running, you should go for it.' My main goal in this is to make sure people in my area have good representation and to get as many people as possible involved in how the city works so they know they have a voice."

A southern Idaho native, Coombs garnered 63 votes to Broderick's 39.

In all, 590 write-in votes were cast, with Coombs and Broderick receiving the largest totals.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford.