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Middletown Transcript
  • Burgess, McGhee and Reynolds re-elected to Middletown Council

  • Incumbent Middletown Town Council members Jim Reynolds, Robin Burgess and Robert McGhee won new, two-year terms in the March 24 municipal election.
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  • Middletown voters re-elected three incumbents to new two-year terms on town council Monday.
    Robert McGhee led all candidates with 338 votes to win a sixth term in office. Jim Reynolds won a 15th non-consecutive term with 322 votes, while Robin Burges won a fourth term with 300 votes.
    They beat out challenger Rick Catterton, who picked up 91 votes in his first foray into town politics.
    Each of the 388 voters who participated in Monday’s election – including six who voted by absentee ballot – was allowed to choose three candidates, with the top vote-getters winning office.
    “I don’t take on any endeavors to lose so I’m proud to have won another term in office,” said McGhee, a 67-year-old retiree and the only African American on the six-member council. “Anytime you have an opponent there is some concern, but the residents have spoken and I’m elated.”
    Reynolds, Middletown’s longest serving town councilman, also said he was thrilled to be re-elected.
    “It’s a great feeling,” the 64-year-old salesman for Contractors Materials said. “I’ve lived in this town every day of my life and I love Middletown and its citizens. It’s a real vote of confidence to win another term. You never know how many more years you can do this, but I want to stay as long as I feel like I’m contributing to the community.”
    Burgess, the only woman serving on town council, expressed gratitude to the voters who cast ballots Monday.
    “I’m very happy because I enjoy what I do and I love serving the people of Middletown,” the 56-year-old advertising saleswoman for GateHouse Media [the parent company of the Middletown Transcript] said after the results were announced.
    Catterton, a Middletown resident for 15 years, said he was disappointed and encouraged by the outcome.
    “I thought I would have done better, but I’m happy with the number of votes I got, considering it’s my first time running,” said the 43-year-old parts and service director for Willis Ford in Smyrna. “I think it’s something I can grow with the next time.”
    Catterton will get his next opportunity to seek a seat on town council in just a few months.
    After announcing the results of Monday’s election, Middletown Mayor Kenneth Branner said he has accepted the resignation of Councilman David Fisher, who assumed office a year ago after no other candidates filed to run for the seat previously held by Charles Dixon.
    A special election to fill the remaining 10 months of Fisher’s term will be held May 15, Branner said. The candidate filing period for that contest opened at 8 a.m. on March 25 and will close on at 4:30 p.m. on April 16.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I think I can say for certain that I will file in that race,” Catterton said. “And we’ll see how I do the second time around.”
    Reynolds said he hopes the next council race draws more interest from candidates who are serious about running.
    “Everyone has a right to run for council, but sometimes we get people that want to run for certain reasons that have nothing to do with the best interests of Middletown,” he said. “In my opinion, to be a viable candidate, you need to have attended a council meeting and shown an interest in town. You can’t just show up and think you can catch up that quick.”
    This year’s municipal election saw the lowest voter turnout since 2005, possibly because the contest had to be rescheduled because of a snowstorm on the original March 3 election date.
    The 388 people who voted in Monday’s contest represent less than 3 percent of the more than 13,000 Middletown residents ages 18 and older who were eligible to cast a ballot.
    This year’s turnout also was equal to only about 45 percent of the 851 voters who cast ballots in Middletown’s last contested election in 2012.

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