NEW ALBANY — New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan took a step toward a possible third term Tuesday with a convincing win over David White in the Democratic primary.
Gahan collected 1,721 votes, or 56 percent to White's 1,337 votes, or 43 percent. Gahan defeated White by 699 votes four years ago and while White closed the margin, it was not enough.
Gahan will face Republican Mark Seabrook in the general election. Seabrook ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary and received 911 votes. Dan Coffey has also said he plans to run for mayor as an independent.
As Gahan entered the New Albany Elks to a rousing ovation Tuesday night his message was clear heading toward the general election — keep the momentum moving forward.
"We have something very special going on in New Albany right now," Gahan told his supporters. "This is just one step toward a big victory in November. Our opponents are trying to roll back what we have done which makes this one of the most important elections we have had in many, many years. They are out to get us but we just have to stick together."
While White was pleased he made a better showing than four years ago, he was obviously disappointed in the outcome.
"I like to win, but the truth of the matter is this is not my life. I am not a politician. I ran because it was something I wanted to do, not something I had to do," White said. "I am disappointed for the citizens of New Albany. I have profound differences with the mayor but my Democratic Party has spoken. They want another four years of Jeff."
White did not say whether he would endorse or support Gahan in the fall.
"I feel bad for my supporters and my community and I am disappointed. I am a competitive person," he said.
Gahan said the primary campaign "was kind of tough" but was proud of his supporters for sticking with him.
"Some folks were throwing haymakers at us," he said. "But we have a strong party and I think people know a lot of that wasn't true."
While Seabrook didn't have to worry about primary opposition Tuesday, he was already geared up for the campaign season moving forward.
He said he will continue to focus on three subjects — improving neighborhoods, transparency with city government and fiscal accountability. Seabrook said he has been encouraged while talking to voters prior to the primary, even though Republicans only had one contested race Tuesday — New Albany City Council District 2.
"I am excited and ready to go," he said.
So is Gahan. The mayor said he would continue to focus on his accomplishments over the past seven years which includes a balanced budget every year, one-way streets being converted to two-way, improvements to parks including adding a swimming pool, and attracting businesses to the city.
"I want to keep New Albany moving forward," he said. "I feel good about the election and feel like we are on the right track. We have tried to run on our record which we are very proud of."