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Hewitt takes mayor's race

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BUNDLED:Candidates Miles Hewitt and Betsy Edwards-Wolfe talk with campaign volunteers and others near a gas heater in front of the Miami County courthouse’s Main Street entrance on Election Day.
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CHILLY:Campaign volunteers huddle under blankets outside of a polling place on West Main Street early Tuesday afternoon.
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NEW MAYOR: PeruMayor-elect Miles Hewitt talks to the crowd gathered at the Miami County Republican Headquarters Tuesday night after learning that he won thethree-way race with incumbent Gabriel Greer and independent challenger Chris Wolfe.
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OUTSIDE:Campaign volunteers for Republican candidate Miles Hewitt visit Tuesday outside a polling place at Parkview United Methodist Church on State Road 19.

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

Republican challenger Miles Hewitt is headed to the Peru mayor’s office after beating incumbent Democrat Gabriel Greer and Independent candidate Chris Wolfe in Tuesday’s election.

Hewitt, a city police officer, pulled in 841 votes, or just more than 44 percent of the total votes cast in the race.

“The people spoke and now we all have to listen,” Hewitt said in brief remarks to the cheering crowd that had gathered Tuesday night at the Miami County Republican Party headquarters.

Hewitt was among the many candidates who stood out in cold temperatures in front of the Miami County courthouse asking residents for their votes as they headed to the polls on Tuesday, something he said that wasn’t unlike the race in general.

“It’s been a long battle,” he told the Tribune.

The night brought plenty of more good news for Republicans, with red candidates taking or holding on to all but two city seats.

Susan Stanley beat out incumbent Tish Soldi for the Clerk-Treasurer’s post with 53.5 percent of the vote.

Republican Tom Gustin held on to his District 2 seat on the City Council with 292 votes, or nearly 68 percent of the votes cast.

Peter Sahaidachny bested Democratic incumbent Jason Bowman in District 3 with 175 votes, or just more than 63 percent of the vote. Patricia Russel collected 219 votes compared to Democratic incumbent Cheryl Lee who brought in 139 votes, just shy of 39 percent of those cast in District 4.

In District 5, newly appointed incumbent Mark Ramsey, a Republican, walked away with 226 votes, compared to Joyce Greer’s 92.

The parties split the two at-large seats up for grabs on the council. The top two vote-getters out of the four candidates running were Democrat Steve Anderson with nearly 28 percent, or 879 votes, and Republican Kathleen Plothow who pulled in 807 votes or about 26 percent.

The only other Democrat to come away with a win Tuesday was challenger Betsy Edwards-Wolfe in the District 1 City Council race. She beat Republican Blane Holland with just more than 53 percent, or 237 votes.

Anderson’s and Edwards-Wolfe’s wins keep the makeup of the council at five Republicans and two Democrats.

Republican Elizabeth Price ran unopposed for City Court Judge.

County chair for the Republican Party, State Rep. Ethan Manning, chalked up the night’s success to having “good candidates who worked hard” campaigning and knocking on doors.

“That’s usually what makes the difference,” he said.

Turnout this year was light compared to the 2015 city elections that ushered Soldi and Greer into office.

In that contest, Greer beat incumbent Republican Mayor Jim Walker and Independent challenger Wayne Bunker by taking 1,283 votes to Bunker’s 277 and Walker’s 885.

Soldi took incumbent Jackie Gray’s seat with 1,333 votes to Gray’s 1,082.

That year saw just more than 33 percent turnout with 2,467 total votes cast.

This year saw only 1,914 votes cast, or about 27 percent of registered voters.