Incumbents And Newcomer Move On To November Ballot

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UPDATE 11:13 p.m. Athens City Council at-large incumbents Chris Knisely and Steve Patterson, as well as challenger Jennifer Cochran will move on to face independent candidate Troy Gregorino in the November general election.

During Tuesday’s primary election, six Democratic candidates squared off for the chance to represent the city’s three at-large council seats. No Republicans filed for the primary election.

According to unofficial results from the Athens County Board of Elections, Knisely received the most votes with 618 and Patterson received 520 votes. Current at-large member Elahu Gosney did not seek re-election.

The spot left open by Gosney attracted challengers Cochran, a licensed message therapist — who received 442 votes to clench a spot in the general election on Tuesday — Athens County Historical Society Executive Director Ron Luce, Avalanche Pizza manager and local DJ Michael Bart, and former Councilman Michael McSteen.

Luce received 406 votes, Bart had 318 and McSteen garnered 208 votes, according to unofficial results from the elections board on Tuesday.

Athens City Council is comprised of four ward representatives and three at-large seats. The four ward representatives — Kent Butler, Jeff Risner, Michele Papai and Chris Fahl — all ran unopposed in the primary election.

Council President Jim Sands also ran unopposed in the primary election. All current elected officials in the city of Athens are Democrats.

Following the posting of the results on Tuesday evening, Knisely thanked the voters of Athens.

“I’m delighted,” she said. “It was a great race.”

Knisely said she’s looking forward to working with whoever wins the November election.

Cochran said the campaign was a learning experience for her.

“There were a lot of good contenders,” she said Tuesday evening. “I’m happily surprised. I’ll take it.”

Patterson said he was “on top of the world” following the results on Tuesday. Of the two campaigns he’s run for Council, he said this one was the most stressful for him.

He said he was concerned about how the vote would turn out due to the strong candidates running for the at-large seats.

“We had some strong challengers this year, which made everyone nervous,” Patterson said. “Chris (Knisely) and I have done very well. I know that I hit the ground running since day one. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been on for a year and four months, but have been able to accomplish, I think, a lot of things and I got a lot more I got to do.”

Bart said he’s learned a lot about the city’s government process during his campaign, including how to be a more involved citizen.

“I know how to have my voice heard, even as a private citizen, so I’m definitely going to stay involved. I’m going to seriously consider running again or supporting someone else who shares some of the same ideas that I have. I was really glad I had the opportunity to get my ideas out there.”

Bart said he was glad he had the support that he did on Tuesday.

“I had over 300 people put a dot next to my name and that’s a really good feeling. Of course I wish it would have went a different way with a few more votes, but I’m not too sad,” he said.

Luce said he was a little disappointed with the election results Tuesday, but said he wasn’t too surprised.

“The people have made their decisions and I accept that,” he said. He said he congratulated the winners of the election.

McSteen said it was an “excellent” race and that he wasn’t too disappointed in the results.

“We were all really good candidates,” he said. “I think Athens will be well represented by those selected… I’m not completely unhappy with who was elected.”

Knisely, Patterson and Cochran will face Gregorino in the general election. The three that receive the most votes will take office in January.

The two incumbent Democrats and a newcomer will join an independent candidate on the ballot this fall as they vie for the three At-large seats on the Athens City Council.

Unofficial results show At-large representatives Chris Knisely and Steve Patterson garnered enough votes in the Tuesday’s primary election to be placed on the ballot in November.

Knisely received 618 votes. Patterson received 520.

Massage therapist Jennifer Cochran received the third highest vote total with 442.

Pending official results the three Democrats will be on the ballot along with independent candidate Troy Gregorino.

The three candidates with the most votes in November will secure the At-large seats on the council.

The vote totals for the remaining three candidates are as follows:

Michael Bart – 318

Ron Luce – 406

Michael McSteen – 208

Election officials say 15 provisional ballots need be reviewed by the Board of Elections. As of Tuesday there were also two absentee ballots that needed review.

Officials will examine the absentee ballots on May 21. Official results will be made on May 22.

All other Athens City Council members ran unopposed in the primary.