PARKERSBURG - Incumbent Bob Newell out-slugged Republican Sharyn Tallman to win his third term as mayor on Tuesday, according to the unofficial general election results.
Newell -becoming the first person under the strong-mayor form of government elected to three consecutive terms - topped Tallman, a longtime city council member, by 1,076 votes, receiving 5,761 votes (55.07 percent) to 4,685 votes (44.78 percent) for Tallman.
"I don't know what to say," Newell said. "I have been nervous. I feel like I have been running for four years; since the economy tanked. I'm very thankful the citizens had enough confidence to vote me back in as mayor."
Attempts to contact Tallman Tuesday night were unsuccessful.
When election officials plugged in the 12,000-plus early voting results, the incumbent mayor had a 600-vote advantage on Tallman. As the votes continued to come in Newell's lead varied - to more than a 1,000 votes - but never dipped below 500.
Newell was encouraged voters also returned many city council incumbents. Nancy Wilcox, Sharon Lynch, John Rockhold and Jim Reed all retained their seats Tuesday.
Only District 4 incumbent John Sandy was upended by Kim Coram.
Incumbent Republican Mike Reynolds in District 6 was unopposed. Brad Kimes in District 3 and Tom Joyce in District 7 didn't run for re-election.
J.R. Carpenter, a Democrat, was elected to District 5, Tallman's district, defeating Republican Joe Backus.
In the Democratic primary Newell fought off a strong challenge from former police chief Gerald Board, scratching out a 99-vote win. Tallman was unopposed in the GOP primary.
Newell raised and spent close to $20,000 to defeat Board. And he collected more than $35,000 in campaign contributions to combat Tallman's challenge.
Newell noted he and city council had to make a lot of tough decisions in the last four years - such as the user fee and increased sanitation rates -that weren't popular.
"Myself and council has been through the toughest times since the Great Depression and I think it is a little bit of vindication that, while not popular, most people saw it was necessary and stood behind us. I appreciate it very much."