A recount of votes cast Nov. 7 in two Reynoldsburg races that were too close to call on election night produced no changes in the outcomes.
That means Democrat Stacie A. Baker won a seat on Reynoldsburg City Council by two votes over fellow Democrat Kelly S. Cruse and newcomer Robert M. Barga edged out incumbent Rob Truex by seven votes to claim the third available seat on the Reynoldsburg Board of Education.
The Franklin County Board of Elections announced the results of the recount Dec. 6.
The recount confirmed that newcomer Kristin Bryant, a Democrat, earned the most votes, at 3,258, or 17.45 percent, and incumbent Barth Cotner, a Republican, was next at 3,188 votes, or 17.07 percent.
Baker received 3,145 votes, or 16.84 percent, while Cruse received 3,143 votes, or 16.83 percent.
Baker said he appreciated the hard work of his opponent.
"I give Kelly a bunch of credit; she worked hard and I know either one of us would make a great member of council," he said.
Baker said his first thought when he heard the recount results was, "The fun is over and the hard work now begins."
"I've been going to the council meetings for the past couple of years, so I know the city's issues," he said. "I plan on starting to work hard right away, on day one."
Cruse said she plans to run again for a council seat.
"I will probably run for my ward seat in 2019," she said.
She was recently sworn in as a board member for the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I plan on staying active with the city and trying to bring new business into Reynoldsburg," she said. "My parents are still here and I was kind of planted in Reynoldsburg -- I'm not going anywhere."
Council incumbent Chris Long, a Republican, lost his bid for re-election, receiving 2,914 votes, or 15.61 percent, and newcomer Aaron DeLong, also a Republican, received 2,787 votes, or 14.93 percent.
Newcomer Jeni Quesenberry got the lion's share of votes for three seats on the board with 4,402 votes, or 30.18 percent.
Incumbent Joe Begeny was next, with 3,955 votes, or 27.12 percent.
The recount showed Barga officially received 3,117 votes, or 21.37 percent and Truex received 3,110 votes, or 21.32 percent.
Barga said he was surprised by the recount results.
"I am excited about it, but somewhat surprised because I joined the race late," he said. "I think the community bought into my position and platform, which was exploring every option possible for our students in ways we prepare them for the future, whether college, employment or enlistment in the military."
He said Truex "has done an extremely good job for the district."
"That was obvious by looking at his support," Barga said. "He has started the turnaround and healing process for this community and I look forward to continuing his work."
Barga said he would soon tour district schools with Superintendent Melvin Brown.
"I want to get a background on the issues and find out what resources principals may need," he said. "That way, I can suggest ideas to solve problems that they might have."
Truex will relinquish his seat on Jan. 1.
"While I'm disappointed the results weren't in my favor, I know the district is still in good hands and more importantly, we've set in motion positive plans and actions that will make Reynoldsburg schools stronger and help create a destination community," he said.
He said he is proud of a number of things the board accomplished during his two-year term, including hiring new leadership, bringing more art and music into the curriculum and securing a much-needed HVAC contract.
"I know I learned a tremendous amount during my two-year term and I hope my experience helped others learn as well," Truex said. "I plan on being available should the board or superintendent or anyone else need to contact me."