RENSSELAER — Democratic Mayor Stephen Wood won another term to lead Rensselaer by just 40 votes Tuesday night over his opponent, Republican Councilman-at-Large Scott Barton.
Wood’s total was 541 votes, comprising just less than 52 percent, while Barton had 501 votes, comprising just more than 48 percent.
Barton and Wood both watched the election results come in as they each gathered with supporters in the same large meeting room on the second floor of the Jasper County Courthouse. Upon hearing the results, Barton almost immediately rose from his seat and crossed the room to shake Wood’s hand and greet Wood’s supporters, who congratulated him on running a good race.
“I knew it was going to be tight,” Barton said a few moments later. “I do accept the results. I did what I could.”
Barton was asked how he feels about the direction that the city will go in now under Wood’s ongoing leadership.
“There’s a council that always has the checks and balances,” Barton said. “Rensselaer will not suffer. We will keep moving forward — just not the direction that I hoped it would.”
Barton said Wood has “done an OK job and he will continue to represent the city.”
Wood was asked what his plans were now moving forward.
“I’m going to be looking forward to the next four years of running the city and progressing like we have been, with the downtown revitalization, Parks for People Campaign, several other things that we’ve got in the works,” he said. “But I’m going to stay on top of those and we’re going to complete a lot of those.”
Democratic Ward Four Councilman Ernest Watson Jr. also held out in a tight race against Republican contender Richard Comingore by a similar margin of just 43 votes. The latter two men have faced off with similar results in the previous election.
Watson was not present to view the election results at the courthouse that night, but Comingore was. Despite his loss, the former councilman indicated he was in a good mood after the race was called, as he left the building.