Townsend voters elected two political newcomers and one incumbent to town council on Saturday.
New Castle County employee Lorraine Gorman and business owner Rudolph “Rudy” Sutton Jr. each won office in their first foray into politics, while John Ness, a project manager at JPMorgan Chase, won a third term to the seat he’s held since 2009.
Gorman led all candidates with 82 votes, followed by Ness who earned 62 votes and Sutton, who garnered 58 votes.
They beat out former town councilwoman Sandra Sturgis, who won 50 votes, and incumbent Town Councilman Dwain Haines, who picked up 49 votes.
Each of the 116 voters who participated in Saturday’s election – including seven who voted by absentee ballot – was allowed to choose three of the five candidates, with the top three voter-getters winning office.
Those voters represent about 39 percent of the 299 people who registered prior to the April 19 deadline, or about 9 percent of all Townsend residents 18 and older.
“It feels really good right now,” said Sutton, whose 8-vote margin of victory represented about 7 percent of the total ballots cast. “I’m ready to hop on board and make things happen I just want to say thank you and tell everyone how much I appreciate their support. I promise I won’t let you down.”
Sutton also offered congratulations to Gorman and Ness, neither of whom could be reached for comment Saturday.
Haines and Sturgis each lost their council bids Saturday, despite being the only candidates who canvassed for votes at Townsend Town Hall on Election Day.
“It happens,” said Haines, who lost his seat after a single two-year term. “Hopefully, (the new town council) can work together and get things done that didn’t get done in the past. I wish them good luck.”
Sturgis, who previously served three terms on council before stepping down last summer, offered some advice to the new councilmembers.
“I would tell them to think for themselves,” she said, adding that she intends to continue voicing her opinions at council meetings. “I was there before I was on council and after I was on council. The other side of the table isn’t so bad, because at least I can say what I want.”
Sturgis and Haines said they have not ruled out seeking office again next year.
The election results will not become official until next week.
The new council members will be sworn into office at the June 5 town council meeting, at which time Haines and Councilwoman Karen Jennings, who opted not to seek re-election after three terms, will step down and the new board will choose a mayor.
Page 2 of 2 - “I would like to thank my constituency for placing their trust and faith in me for six years as their representative,” Kennings said via email last week. “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve my community as part of this public body. I have been so fortunate to have met so many incredible residents over the years, and I will never forget their kindness and support.”