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Races too close to call in Hedgesville

June 08, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Although he finished one vote ahead of his opponent in the race for the mayor of Hedgesville, Dennis Donaldson is no shoo-in to be presiding over future Town Council meetings since 15 challenged ballots remain to be counted.

Donaldson received 38 votes for mayor, according to unofficial results. His opponent, write-in candidate Charles Mason, received 37 votes.

For the position of recorder, Terri Miskovsky received 39 votes, while Melanie Kimble received 32 votes.

In the race for five Town Council seats, Cheryl Young was the top vote-getter with 48 votes. Mary Sue Catlett received 47 votes, Nicolas Hengemihle received 43 votes, and Jim Poisal and Peggy Gano each received 38 votes.

Gano and Poisal are incumbents.

Incumbent Carl Skillman might not serve another term, having received 34 votes.

Current Mayor Mary Beth Good received 33 votes in her bid for a Town Council seat, while Current Recorder Ron Good finished with the fewest votes in the Town Council race, with 31.

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The final Town Council candidate, Brian Kimble, received 35 votes.

The top five vote-getters will win the Town Council seats.

Poll worker Bill Kearns said the current Town Council members will review the 15 challenged ballots during a canvass on June 14 to determine whether they should be accepted or rejected.

Seventy-nine people voted, excluding the provisional ballots, Kearns said. Those ballots have not been counted because it is uncertain whether the people live within the town's limits or are eligible to vote, Kearns said.

After polls closed at 7:30 p.m., several candidates gathered outside of the town's sole polling place, Naylor Library. They sat on the steps and a nearby wall, chatting as the sun set.

Just before 9 p.m., Kearns taped a piece of paper containing the election results to the outside of the building.

Neither Donaldson nor Mason were present, and Donaldson could not be reached later.

Mason said he knows and respects Donaldson, noting that both of their families have been in Hedgesville for generations.

"I look at it as a very positive thing for us to be that close in votes," Mason said, saying it shows he and Donaldson likely do not vastly differ in their ideas of how the town can be run.

No matter what the final outcome is, Mason said he hopes a rift that now exists between some residents will dissolve and that the residents will come back together.

"If we don't have a people town, we don't have anything," Mason said.

As the top vote-getter, Young's position as a future Town Council member is unlikely to change.

She said she's looking forward to helping residents of the town, especially with issues like heavy traffic and street, sidewalk and drain repairs.

"I'm thrilled that the residents put their faith in me," she said.

A comment from Mason might sum up the feelings of those whose positions are not cemented.

"I guess we'll hold our breaths until (the canvass)," he said.

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