NEW ALBANY — Democrats lost one seat Tuesday but won two to increase their control of the New Albany City Council.
The council's makeup beginning next year: Democrats have five seats, Republicans have three and there is one independent.
Two Democratic newcomers squeaked out wins Tuesday. In District 1, the seat vacated by independent Dan Coffey, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor, Jennie Collier defeated Republican Stefanie Griffith by 35 votes — 434 to 399. Neither candidate has ever held political office.
"I put so much work into it ... I had a great opponent," Collier said. "I knew it would take a lot of work. I can't wait to serve the community."
Republicans went into the election holding all three council at-large seats, but after Tuesday's vote, only two survived re-election bids. Republican Al Knable led the slate of six at-large candidates with 4,107 votes, 19.4%, Democrat Jason Applegate garnered 3,939 votes, 18.6%, and Republican David Aebersold was third with 3,398 votes, 16%. Incumbent Republican David Barksdale finished fourth to Aebersold, losing by 27 votes. Sam Charbonneau was fifth with 3,298 votes while Christina Estill finished sixth, 3,044.
"I was very honored to be on the council for four years," Barksdale said after learning he had come up short. "I voted for what I thought was best for the citizens. There is always another day."
Applegate, who came up short last year in the race for Floyd County Commissioner, said he felt good about how he ran in the city last year despite losing, which is why he decided to run for city council. He was overcome by emotion and joy as results were announced.
"I am very happy," he said. "There were six great people [at-large candidates] and I was running against three incumbents. And they are all good people. They have all done a lot for the community. It's so humbling."
The one bright spot for Republicans Tuesday was Turner's win over Democrat incumbent Matt Nash in District 5. Turner collected 1,037 votes, 53%, to Nash's 912 votes, 46%.
Turner said he walked his district "four or five" times, talking to voters and discussing issues.
"I knew it would be a hard road. I want to thank my wife and family for supporting me," he said. "I made it a point for them to meet me. I will do my best to revive District 5."
He praised Nash for running a clean campaign.
Democrats now hold five council seats — Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and one at-large seat. Republicans hold three seats and Independent incumbent Scott Blair was victorious in District 6. He is the current council president.