Democratic mayoral candidate Brent Wilkes conceded defeat to Mayor Scott Johnson on Friday, saying that Johnson’s 225 vote lead in Tuesday’s election is too large, even with 400 absentee ballots yet to be counted.
Wilkes, 59, met with Johnson Friday morning to congratulate him on his apparent election to a third two-year term.
“Our campaign rechecked the vote tallies with the county Board of Elections yesterday, and we are confident that Johnson holds a 225-vote lead,” Wilkes said in a statement.
While around 400 absentee ballots remain to be counted, Wilkes would need to garner 80 percent of them to reverse Johnson’s current lead, a highly unlikely possibility, according to Patrick Kane, Wilkes’ campaign coordinator.
Kane said Wilkes was very pleased that two fellow Democrats defeated Republicans currently serving on the City Council in Tuesday’s election. Local dentist Chris Mathiesen defeated Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth, and Michele Madigan defeated Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins.
“I am very proud of the campaign that we ran,” Wilkes said. “We had a great team that was effective in delivering our message through a variety of media.
“I want to thank all those who supported my campaign for their efforts, and to those that did not support me, I thank them for the civility and respect that they accorded me. My wife, Linda, and I met a lot of wonderful people during the campaign.”
Johnson said he and Wilkes met briefly in City Hall on Friday.
“We hold no personal ill will,” Johnson said. “We will move on.”
Kane said he and Wilkes would continue to work on getting a charter change referendum placed before city voters. Kane and Wilkes are leaders of Saratoga Citizen Inc., a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that wants to change the city’s form of government from the current commission form to a more modern city manager/city council organization.
The current City Council has not cooperated with the group and has fought putting the charter change question on the ballot. The city is currently appealing a state Supreme Court judge’s decision that says enough signatures are on Saratoga Citizen petitions for the issue to be put to a public vote.
“We will keep working on charter change, keep on going,” Kane said.
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