On a perfect weather day for an election, almost as many voters voted early as turned out to the polls tipping the scales by only 23 votes — giving Salem Police Chief Troy Merry, 46, the win as new City of Salem Mayor, defeating City Councilman and State Farm Agent Ron Haendiges, 661 to 644.
The tally is unofficial until Nov. 16.
“I’m excited,” said Merry at the Washington County Courthouse. “I’m tired but excited. I’m ready to get to work.”
Merry has served as Police Chief for the past four years and has been on the police force for the past 17 years. He is also the pastor of Walnut Grove Christian Church. He has been married to Candace Merry for 24 years and is a life resident of Salem.
Haendiges received 115 early votes with Merry receiving 165 early votes. Actual votes today, Haendiges received 529 votes and Merry received 496 votes.
In the race for City Clerk/Treasurer Republican Sally Hattabaugh defeated Democrat Kevin Stewart, 660 to 646 – only 14 votes.
“I’m feeling a little overwhelmed,” said Hattabaugh. “That was a little too close for comfort. I look forward to helping the city in the best way possible.”
Hattabaugh received 137 early votes and Stewart took 144 early votes. Today, Hattabaugh received 523 votes and Steward tallied 502 votes.
IN OTHER RACES
For the City Council races, two were uncontested — Justin Green who received 196 early votes and 813 votes today for a total of 1009 votes. Warren “Truck” Jones was the other uncontested council member and received 43 early votes and 171 votes today for a total of 214 votes.
Republican Incumbent Dan Libka easily kept his seat for City Council District 1 with 156 votes compared to Democrat challenger John Smedley who earned 100 votes.
Libka had 25 early votes and 131 votes today. Smedley had 21 early votes and 79 votes today.
Republican and Salem Schools 5th Grade teacher Steven Crane defeated former city council member and Democrat Leslie Gilbert Leis, 186 to 169. Crane took 35 early votes and 151 votes today. Leis received 30 early votes and 139 votes today.
Democrat incumbent Wally Terkhorn won his City Council District 4 seat back with a 236 to 143 win over Republican newcomber Jim Snelling. Snelling had 26 early votes and 117 votes today. Terkhorn had 75 early votes and 161 votes in today’s election.
Officials will take office on January 1, 2016