It was down to the wire in the Laurel City Council election. The race in Ward 1 was too close to call until the absentee and provisional ballots were counted Wednesday.
The results are now official. Carl DeWalt has ousted incumbent Councilman Ed Ricks in Ward 1 by a vote of 467 for DeWalt and 451 for Ricks. Incumbent Councilmember Valerie Nicholas was the top vote getter in Ward 1. She had 480 votes.
Ward 2 residents elected a new City Councilmember. Keith Sydnor was the top vote getter in Ward 2. He had 454 votes. City Councilman Frederick Smalls was re-elected in Ward 2 with 382 votes. He outpaced challengers Thomas Matthews with 271 votes and Adrian Rousseau with 242 votes.
Councilman At-Large Mike Leszcz was re-elected with 806 votes. Jeffrey Mills received 627 votes in the At-Large race.
Mayor Craig A. Moe was at the Municipal Center as the final tally came in. He wanted to thank Councilmembers Ricks and Donna Crary for their service to the citizens of Laurel. Ms. Crary did not seek re-election.
“We’ve had a very strong team working for Laurel for quite some time. It’s sad to see some of that team go tonight, Mayor Moe said. “ I look forward to working with the incumbents who were re-elected and those who were newly elected. We have an opportunity to do some good things for Laurel and I’m looking forward to it.”
Ms. Crary was in the audience to watch the final vote count. She said she came to support her fellow councilmembers who were in some extremely tight races-30 votes separated the winners from the losers.
“This was tough to watch. I’ve worked hand in hand with them for so long that it’s tough to say goodbye and to see Councilman Ricks’ legacy of service to the people come to an end, for now. It’s tough,” she says.
Councilman Ricks says he’s “still processing his loss” and he doesn’t know what his next adventure will be.
“I wanted to stay in office because I thought I could help,” Ricks says. “I still do. I wish the new Council well. I’m not going far. I’ll be right down the hill,” he says.
The City Council will accept the election results at a 7pm meeting on Thursday. The new Council will be officially sworn in at the Mayor and City Council meeting on Monday, November 13th at 7 pm.