In a record turnout that drew about one-third of its registered voters, Sykesville re-elected its mayor and four council members Tuesday.
The laborious hand count of 665 ballots concluded about 1:30 a.m. yesterday. Mayor Jonathan S. Herman was awakened with the news that he had 373 votes to the 279 amassed by opponent Ted Campbell. Three write-in votes were cast for mayor: two for Councilman Charlie Mullins and one for Steve Crum of Norwood Avenue.
Four council members won their seats back despite strong challenges from six of their neighbors.
"I think this is a real vote of confidence for what we have been doing on the council," Herman said. "The turnout was great. It does not matter how many votes the opposition got as long as we won."
With 314 votes, Councilwoman Jeannie Nichols led the candidates seeking a four-year council term. Councilwoman Debby Ellis won her seat with 306 votes and Council President Eugene Johnson earned a fourth term with 290 votes.
In a separate contest, Councilman Russ Vreeland won 337 votes and election for the remaining two years of a term that he was appointed to last year. Kathleen Hider conducted a strong campaign for that seat and received 300 votes. Brian Beck and Louie Shaw each received one write-in vote for the two-year term.
Herman and council members ran as a ticket, stressing that they wanted to see several projects to fruition. He credited Nichols' hard-fought campaign for the victory.
"She had me go door to door," said Herman, who visited about 100 homes in the town of 4,200. "It really was a delightful experience. I met a lot of people who have a great feeling about living in Sykesville."
Of the other council hopefuls, Brian Beck, owner of a Main Street restaurant, fell short with 229 votes in his first try for political office. He ran on a ticket with Frank Robert, who garnered 182 votes.
Former council members Garth Adams and Maxine Wooleyhand failed in their bids to return to the council with 187 and 161 votes, respectively. Connie Higgins, a perennial at council meetings, ran unsuccessfully in 1999 and lost in a second try Tuesday with 211 votes.
Herman said he is breathing a sigh of relief and eager to return to town business, particularly the revitalization of Main Street and the restoration of the Warfield Complex, a 96-acre property along Route 32 that Sykesville plans to convert to a business and academic center.