The Democratic candidates swept the election Tuesday for three open seats on Charlottesville’s City Council.
Wes Bellamy, Michael Signer and incumbent Kathy Galvin, the winners of the five-way race, will join Councilors Bob Fenwick and Kristin Szakos on Jan. 1.
Signer and Bellamy will be replacing outgoing Councilor Dede Smith, who did not win a nomination in a Democratic primary earlier this year, and Mayor Satyendra Huja, who will retire after serving on the council for eight years.
A former special assistant U.S. attorney, Robert Tracci overtook Denise Lunsford by 515 votes. Democrat Jon Zug wins clerk race.
“Since the June primary, we’ve met every week to talk and get to know each other and build a relationship,” Galvin said. “That’s really important, because when we have a disagreement — which will happen — it’s not going to sever the relationship. It’s going to make sure we listen to each others’ viewpoints and come up with the best compromise.”
“With these two gentlemen, I really believe we’ll have the ability to craft the policy we need to move forward,” Galvin said. “I think there’ll be a discernible difference to the public right within the first 100 days of our governance.”
Bellamy, who came short of earning a seat on the council two years ago, was the top vote-getter, with 4,657 votes. Galvin received 4,561 votes and Signer received 4,278.
“I am absolutely elated,” Bellamy said. “I never thought the vote totals would come out the way they are. I can’t thank the city of Charlottesville enough,” Bellamy said, adding that he was wearing the same suit he wore when he announced his first candidacy for the council in 2013.
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“It’s a surreal moment,” he said.
The other two council candidates, Republican Anson Parker and Libertarian Scott Alvin Bandy, received 8 percent and 4 percent of the vote, respectively.
“At my current burn rate of about $300 per election, given an election every two years, it’ll be 600 years before I catch up to the burn of the Democrats in this year,” said Parker. “Perhaps by 2615, there may be a generation ready to vote online. Until then, I’ll continue looking for ways to obviate the need for politicians.”
During the day’s voting, Bandy said he’d visited several city precincts to meet with voters, talk about the new paper ballots and chat about the election.
“I voted early this morning, and I’ve been trying to get around to all of the precincts I can,” Bandy said outside of the Recreation precinct. “Running as an independent in the city is sort of like running through molasses. It’s hard to get out of the slow-motion feeling that a campaign can get into.”
Complete coverage of Election Day 2015 in Central Virginia.
Chris Suarez is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274, email@example.com or @Suarez_CM on Twitter.