The new blood transfusion for Gilbert's Town Council apparently culminated on Tuesday, as two challengers were victorious, a young incumbent survived and three members with a combined 34 years of experience were voted out.
With all 21 precincts reporting, challengers Jordan Ray (8,309 votes) and Victor Petersen (7,220) claimed seats, joining newcomer Eddie Cook, who won enough votes in March's primary to be elected outright. Incumbent Ben Cooper (8,266), appointed to the Council last year, was elected.
The results are unofficial; town clerk Cathy Templeton said that the final numbers should be available on Thursday or Friday.
“It's not 100 percent official yet, but we are quite confident with the results that have come in thus far,” Ray said. “I look forward to serving the people of Gilbert. I met many wonderful people during the campaign. I'm excited and grateful to the many people who helped me get to this point.”
The victory was a birthday present for Petersen, who turned 33 on Tuesday.
“I tried to keep a positive message and offer up something for people to be excited about,” Petersen said. “I feel I have a lot to offer to the Council and the town, and that was the message that I worked. We have a lot of exciting opportunities ahead as a town, and I'm looking forward to helping shape them.”
Veteran incumbents Linda Abbott (6,730), Les Presmyk (3,693) and Dave Crozier (3,641) were denied another term. Crozier was seeking his fifth term, Presmyk his fourth and Abbott her third. All voted yes on the controversial Zinke dairy land purchase that was a major issue during the campaign.
“It was an honor to have served the residents of the town,” Abbott said. “I look forward to staying involved as an activist and community member and trying to make a positive difference.”
Presmyk and Crozier were unavailable for comment.
The new Council is seated on June 23, and it will get a lot younger. Its senior members will be mayor John Lewis, Jenn Daniels and John Sentz, who took office in 2009.
“I think a young Council may infer fresh perspective and ideas, and some new energy,” Cooper said. “I don't think it represents a dramatic departure in the direction the town is headed. I think there will be a great opportunity for the new Council to develop a shared vision and work together toward it.”
The town's new general plan, which outlines town growth over the next 20 years in such areas as economic development, housing, traffic, parks and trails, arts and culture and environmental issues, was approved by an 81-13 margin. By state law, Gilbert is required to put a general plan before voters every 10 years.