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Team wins town seats in Bolivar

June 03, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

BOLIVAR, W.Va. -- The "team" pulled it off.

In a town election with 18 candidates running for mayor and five open council seats, the "team," a bloc of six candidates backed by a small group of citizens, took the mayor's job and all five council seats by wide margins in Tuesday's town election.

The results were clear as soon as poll workers taped the results of their ballot count on the front door of the Bolivar Community Center/Town Hall.

Councilman Robert J. Hardy, a 22-year council veteran, swamped his two challengers in the mayor's race. Hardy came in with 221 votes. Councilman Ron Moltere, who ran a tough race against Hardy, only managed to eke out 49 votes while Scott Whetsell, a former councilman, received only 37 ballots at the end of the day.

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Hardy and Moltere had to give up their council seats when they filed for mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Timothy Collins is stepping down after 12 years on the council.

The five candidates in the bloc ran roughshod over their seven council opponents

John Paul Heafer, the only council incumbent who sought re-election, was the top vote-getter with 208 votes.

Frank Donadio came in second with 179 votes; Helen Dettmer was third with 164; Victoria Lee Eckert was fourth with 159 and Dave Kardok was fifth with 137 votes.

The bloc was backed by an organized group of local political activists consisting of outgoing incumbent Councilwomen Mary Rutherford and Donna Callar along with citizens Nancy Remington, Deb Hale and Elizabeth Blake.

They stumped along with the candidates during the campaign.

"Our group did pretty well," Blake said. "All of our team got in handily."

The women published a brochure with the names of the candidates they were pushing. "We had a good team. They all had different backgrounds that mirrored the town of Bolivar," Blake said.

As for Tuesday's losers, Paul David Staubs Sr. came in sixth with 103 votes; John Kusner was seventh, 93 votes; Toni L. Milbourne, eighth, 71; Ron Thomas, ninth with 66; Robby Cain, 10th with 52; Kathy Kephart Garza, 11th with 49; Alex Thomas, 12th with 44; Tabby Jenkins, 13th with 32; Mark McDonough, 14th with 21; and Brad Roberts came in 15th with 19 votes.

Town Recorder P. Jean Reed, the 19th candidate, ran unopposed. 

Bolivar, which abuts its sister town of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet along U.S. 340 in Jefferson County, was chartered in 1825 after its citizens petitioned the Virginia Assembly. The town is named after Simon Bolivar, a South American freedom fighter.

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