By Katie Dahlstrom
In a turn of events that shocked even the victorious, two candidates were elected out-right to at-large seats on the Clinton City Council on Tuesday.
Tom Determann and Grant Wilke gained more than the 1,680 votes needed to win a seat Tuesday, avoiding a run-off election.
Determann led the race, receiving 2,126 or 31 percent of the vote. Wilke received 1,902 votes or 28 percent.
“I was surprised. I think everyone thought there was going to be a run-off,” Wilke said.
If none or only one candidate had received more than the 1,680-vote threshold, the top four or two candidates would have faced off in an election next month, respectively.
Although they are not facing another month of campaigning for the at-large seats, both believe the real challenge will come when they take their council seats.
“I’m ecstatic. The voters have spoken and now we have to go to work. And there is a lot of hard work ahead,” Determann said.
Wilke agreed, saying it will be up to the entire community, not just the council and the mayor, to move the city forward. Both cited the city’s finances as the first item to be addressed once they take office.
“We just have to focus on what’s the best for Clinton and what is going to make this the best place to be,” Wilke said.
Trailing Determann and Wilke was Andy Sokolovich with 1,253 votes. While this was his first attempt at an elected office, Sokolovich disclosed it would not be his last.
“I will be back again in two years to run again,” Sokolovich said.
Ousted incumbent Jennifer Graf also alluded to another run at elected office.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “I will be back.”
Graf, who was seeking her second term on the council in an at-large position, received 867 votes, or 12.9 percent.
In the time in-between 2015 when an at-large, second ward, fourth ward council seat as well as the mayor position will be up, she wished the newly elected council members luck.
“It’s been a privilege to serve the citizens of Clinton,” she said.
Andrew Luett, who received 565 votes, or 8.41 percent of those cast, said he didn’t know if his name would be back on a ballot anytime soon. While he wished the elected council members well, he expressed some sadness that voters didn’t opt for what he offered.
“I had a different perspective,” Luett said. “I thought Clinton would have wanted that younger voice.”