Delaware, Sunbury and Galena residents will see some new faces in leadership positions soon after voters mixed things up in some of last week's Election Day contests.
However, in the Nov. 5 race for Delaware City Council's ward seats, the only incumbent running in a contested race secured her seat for another four years.
Lisa Keller, council's Second Ward representative, won a three-person race with 917 votes (68%), followed by challengers Mike Rush with 266 votes (20%) and Stephen Tackett with 158 (12%), according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.
Keller has been a Delaware City Council member for 11 years.
She wrote on her Facebook page that she is "honored and privileged" to be reelected.
"I've never been more excited for Delaware's future," she wrote. "Thank you for all your truly humbling support. I represent the absolute best Delaware has to offer and I will never take that honor and privilege lightly."
Cory Hoffman will take over in the Third Ward for incumbent Jim Browning, who did not run for reelection.
Hoffman brought in 452 votes (52%) to George McNab's 419 (48%), according to the board of elections.
Hoffman said last week he was reluctant to declare victory until all provisional ballots are counted.
"George ran a strong race and deserves commendation," he said. "With that said, should the margin hold, I am grateful to the people of the Third Ward who have entrusted me with this responsibility, and I'm looking forward to getting to work and learning from council veterans."
Hoffman said he had a special message to those who live in the fast-growing southeastern section of the ward, where he did not win the majority of precincts.
"I hear you," he said, "and we're going to make it a priority to connect with you and represent your concerns as vigorously as those of Third Ward constituents in closer proximity to the city core."
In a two-person race for the Fourth Ward seat, Drew Farrell bested Sarah JanTausch, 756 votes (57%) to 561 (43%), according to the board of elections.
Incumbent Kyle Rohrer, the unopposed candidate for Delaware Municipal Court judge, did not seek reelection.
Farrell said the election "brought months of hard work to fruition."
"I am honored that the people of the Fourth Ward have chosen to trust me with the responsibility to represent them," he said.
Farrell said he plans to continue to gather feedback on what residents want to see in the city, and promised to remain available to residents.
"I am thankful to everyone who voted for me and value the trust placed in me," he said.
"I look forward to the next four years and hearing from you, the residents of Delaware, on what your vision for our future is," he said. "I am humbled by the faith you have placed in me and I will work to represent you and your needs."
In the First Ward, incumbent Chris Jones was unopposed.
While most newly elected leaders in central Ohio take office at the beginning of the year, those elected to Delaware City Council typically are sworn in shortly after the election.
This year's winners are scheduled to be sworn in during a special meeting Nov. 18, city leaders said.
Galena mayor ousted
In Galena, voters turned against longtime incumbent Mayor Tom Hopper, instead electing challenger Jill Love.
Hopper has led the village for two decades, but voters gave Love 211 votes (68%) to his 99 (32%), according to the board of elections.
Love said she was humbled by the support she received and voters' willingness to be "part of a new vision for Galena."
"I am so excited to harness the energy of the incredible people of Galena and surrounding townships," she said. "We have much to do to create the community we chose to live in. Together we can make that happen.
"I look forward to serving you."
Hopper offered his gratitude to the community, village staff and volunteers who have made Galena "a great place to live the past 32 years that I've been with the village, and especially during the past 20 years when I've been mayor."
He said he began serving Galena on municipal committees in 1987 and became a council member in 1996. As president of council, Hopper was first appointed mayor in 1999 when no one ran for the position.
Three join BW board
Two new members also will join the Big Walnut school board, as the sole incumbent in the race was voted out last week.
Stephen Fujii received 2,981 votes (37%) and Sherri Dorsch earned 2,601 (32%) in the three-way race for two open seats, with board member Andrew Wecker collecting 2,566 votes (31%), according to the board of elections.
Fujii said he's excited to join the board.
"I want to thank those who have supported and trusted me with their votes. It is my intent to serve this post faithfully, to steward our shared resources responsibly and to support opportunities for excellence for our students and community," Fujii said.
He said he's looking forward to working with district residents and the administration to "create and implement a plan for our educational future that aligns with who we are and where we, as a community, want to go.
"I also welcome the incredible opportunity to collaborate with my fellow board members as we work together to advance and elevate the students, teachers, staff and programs that make the Big Walnut school district so special," he said.
Dorsch, likewise, thanked voters for electing her and said it would be an honor to represent the district.
"I have been a passionate supporter of our wonderful school district for many years and I pledge to always do my best for our community's learners and all of those who provide the resources for our district to operate," she said.
Wecker congratulated his opponents, saying he was "blessed with a loss."
"I'm glad for anything I did to help Sherri, and I respect the time and effort Steve made," he said.
Wecker said his eight years on the board have been both challenging and rewarding.
"More than anywhere else I can think of in Ohio, Big Walnut does a good job of bringing together the old and the new, from extended families who go back several generations to young couples making their first homes here," he said. "We live and learn together on what this community can offer its children and families."
Liana Lee also will join the board next year, as the only candidate for a two-year term.
Several other races were unopposed, including those for mayor of Sunbury, where Tommy Hatfield won another term, and the Delaware school board, where incumbents Ted Backus and Matt Weller were reelected.