Two incumbent Dayton commissioners easily won re-election against two challengers Tuesday, prompting the winners to say voters think the city is headed in the right direction.
Joey Williams, who was the top vote-getter, and Jeff Mims Jr. defeated challengers Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss.
Mims and Williams said they feel voters recognized the city’s resurgence under their leadership and said they can’t wait to get to work to extend the successes downtown deeper into residential neighborhoods.
“We think we’ve made strides and we’ve got momentum and we can take things further,” Williams said.
Williams earned a fifth term in office, and Mims will serve a second four-year term.
Williams, the longest-serving current member of the city commission, garnered about 30.1 percent of the vote, while Mims pulled down 26.6 percent, according to unofficial final election results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Fairchild and Turner-Sloss finished third and fourth, with 22.7 percent and 20.6 percent of the vote, respectively.
Historically, incumbents tend to have a big advantage in the city commission races, and the last sitting commissioner to be unseated was Idotha Bootsie Neal, who was defeated in 2003 by newcomer Matt Joseph, who still serves on commission.
There had been signs that the incumbents could be in for a tough battle.
Fairchild, manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s, lost his bid for a commission seat two years ago by a small margin and his campaign managed to out-raise Mims’ and Williams’ in the last reporting period.
Turner-Sloss, a former city of Dayton employee, campaigned with Fairchild and made some fierce attacks on what she described as the “deplorable” state of local neighborhoods.
But Williams and Mims on the campaign trail argued that Dayton has made great progress in recent years and is headed in the right direction, despite having some challenges.
Williams said he was honest with voters and shared what the city has done and what it is doing to improve Dayton and their lives.
“I never claimed the city was perfect — we have a lot to work on and I think we have a lot of improvements that we need,” he said. “But I also told voters that I was very confident that the team on the city commission has done a really good job, given the issues that we face.”
Williams said in the next four years he wants to help push the redevelopment that has been rapidly taking place downtown out into the neighborhoods.
Mims said Tuesday’s results seem to indicate Dayton residents feel good about what’s going on in the city and trust the people in charge of making the important decisions.
Mims said the city has seen more progress and activities in the last four years than the three preceding decades. He said the next four years can be just as productive and the rebirth hopefully will accelerate with the right partnerships and investments.
“The win validates the fact that the city is headed in the right direction and more and more people know that,” Mims said.
Mims and Williams easily defeated their competition when they ran in 2013. This race was tighter, but nowhere near as close as some predicted it would be.