Huber Heights voters returned two “old council” incumbents to City Hall and elected a mayor who vows to end the city’s spate of negative headlines, prompting a soul searching among the “Team Huber” bloc that picked off seats in recent years.
Jeffrey Gore — endorsed by council incumbents and candidates Mark Campbell and Nancy Byrge — decisively beat David Wilson, the choice of “Team Huber” council members Richard Shaw and Glenn Otto.
Gore beat Wilson 56 to 43 percent — sweeping 19 of 22 Montgomery County precincts and dominating in fast-growing Miami County, where he and at-large candidate Byrge saw their most impressive margins.
Gore has pledged to return order to Huber’s council after the turbulent reign of incumbent Mayor Tom McMasters, who did not seek re-election and favored Wilson for his replacement.
“I’ve always said that attitude reflects leadership and I think it’s OK to disagree, but it’s how you disagree,” said Gore in an interview. “We can disagree agreeably. The citizens haven’t elected anybody to sit on the dais and vote yes for everything. I think good disagreement is what makes good policy.”
Byrge won a decisive victory over Chase Warden, who opted away from media interviews in exchange for going door-to-door. Byrge — who did not immediately return a request for comment — earned 57 percent of the vote.
Ward 5 voters elected incumbent at-large councilman Campbell as their replacement for Byrge, who chose to run for Campbell’s current seat. Campbell beat Linda Morin 56 to 43 percent.
“My victory, I think, signifies that the residents of Huber Heights like what the city is doing — not only the past year or two, but over the past 30 years,” said Campbell, a longtime officeholder. “I can’t wait to get back to work.”
“The petty politics — putting self interest in front of what’s best for Huber Heights — has to stop,” he said.
While Otto did not think the vote was a referendum on his leadership, the city’s other at-large councilman took notice of the fact voters bypassed his choice for mayor and returned two candidates he’s often railed against.
“This morning I’ve been doing some soul searching,” Otto said. “Basically, I’m trying to weigh, how hard do I continue to stand on principle versus how much I want to get things done. Not to compromise on principle, but maybe to ignore the actions of others or perceived actions or comments in an effort to accomplish the goal.”
Shaw could not immediately be reached for comment.
Though their elections were secured anyway without the votes, Gore and Byrge saw major margins in growing Miami County, where about 500 residents voted in races that in 2013 saw less than 175 votes.
Gore took 68 percent of the mayoral vote in Miami County. Byrge took 63 percent of the vote there in her race.
“They’re no different than the rest of the city,” Gore said. “I think what the people in Miami County are concerned with is any lack of growth that could stall development … which ultimately hurts their property values.”
“We need more jobs here other than just retail and restaurants,” the mayor-elect said.
Elsewhere in Huber, Andrew Hill beat Carl Urbanas by 13 votes in a narrow Ward 4 race. Seth Morgan won a non-competitive race for Ward 3 after incumbent Tyler Starline dropped from the race.