By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
Wagoner voters who turned out Tuesday expressed satisfaction with their sitting city councilors, electing two previously appointed incumbents and re-electing a third to an eighth term.
The only political newcomer elected to the City Council this year was Marvin Stanley, one of four candidates competing for the Ward I seat left open without an incumbent. Stanley, who raked in 183, or 33.9 percent, of the 563 ballots cast, is a game warden with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Phillip Sullivan was elected to a four-year term as Ward 2 representative, a post he has held since January 2012. Sullivan, who snagged 325, or 57.4 percent, of the 566 ballots cast, is a supervisor with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Mike D. Fleming earned 308, or 57.6 percent, of the 535 ballots cast for a two-year, unexpired term as Ward 2 representative. Fleming, a retired auditor and Marine Corps veteran, was appointed about a year ago to the post held by the late Terry Crawford.
Longtime Ward III Councilor Larry Abernathy was elected by a landslide to an eighth term. Abernathy, a bus driver and mechanic for Wagoner Public Schools, took home 418, or 73.3 percent, of the 570 ballots cast in that contest.
While the incumbents won the night in Wagoner, their victories were handed to them by just 13 percent of the 4,186 registered voters eligible to cast ballots. Wagoner County Election Board Chairman Larry Wilkinson said earlier in the day he thought the rain may have kept some voters away from the precincts.
Fleming said he was hoping for a bigger turnout, but he hopes to cash in on his win by being “a positive influence on the City Council and getting some things done.”
“I think we’ve got some good people on the council, and we’ve got a good mayor,” Fleming said Tuesday night after the results were tallied. “I think we can work together and hopefully bring some industry to town.”
Sullivan echoed Fleming’s sense of optimism. He cited progress made during Monday night’s City Council meeting toward the development of a sports complex as a sign of good things to come.
“Those are the kinds of things you need to build your city,” Sullivan said, noting councilors expect the facility to be completed by this time next year. “I appreciate the voters, and I will try to do a good job serving the voters and the city.”
Abernathy, who is serving his 29th year on the City Council, credited a higher power for his victory. Abernathy said he is a “servant of God and a servant of the city” who is happy to be a part of progress.
“We try to do the best we can with what we have to work with,” Abernathy said. “Now, we are beginning to see some of the things we’ve done — they are finally coming together — and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Stanley, who will become the newest city councilor, said he was “a little surprised” by his victory. The field of four vying for the open seat featured two former city councilors.
“The field was definitely spread out, which made it quite a bit tougher along with the experience of the other guys,” Stanley said. “I think the residents of Wagoner wanted a new voice and some new ideas — I think they were wanting something a little different this time.”
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wagoner City Council
Ward I — *Marvin Stanley, 183, 33.9 percent; Jerry Merrell, 95, 31.4 percent; John E. French, 163, 31.4 percent; Jimmy Butler, 73, 14.7 percent.
Ward II (4 years) — *Phillip Sullivan (i), 299, 57.4 percent; Bart T.J. Bogle, 241, 42.6 percent.
Ward II (2 years) — *Mike D. Fleming (i), 277, 57.6 percent; Chris Hefner, 227, 42.4 percent.
Ward III — *Larry Abernathy (i), 418, 73.3 percent; Marshall Wilson, 152, 26.7 percent.
Source: Unofficial results
posted by the Oklahoma State Election Board.