NEW ALBANY — Jeff Gahan says there is still a lot he wants to accomplish as mayor of New Albany, and he now has another four years to get those projects completed.
Gahan, the Democrat incumbent, won a third term Tuesday, easily defeating two challengers. Gahan finished with 4,631 votes, 54% of the vote, to Republican Mark Seabrook's 3,407 votes, 40% of the vote. Independent candidate Dan Coffey collected 409 votes, 4.8% of vote.
While many thought the race would be close since neither Gahan nor Seabrook had ever lost an election, it didn't take long after the polls closed for Democratic supporters to realize their candidate would once again be victorious.
"All elections are tight. We just try to get up and do the best we can for the citizens of New Albany," Gahan said from a rambunctious Democrat Party election celebration at the New Albany Elks on Tuesday night. "But you never know how you are doing until the election. I am very proud of where we are at as a city."
Seabrook, a former member of the New Albany City Council and a three-term Floyd County Commissioner, said there was nothing he would have done differently during the campaign.
"It was an extraordinary experience," he said. "I am so proud of this team. I was proud to run with them."
The race got a little heated on both sides over the last few weeks. Seabrook ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and more transparency in government with an emphasis on neighborhoods. Gahan said he wanted to keep New Albany moving forward after the city had seen many changes in the last term, touting the conversion of downtown streets to two-way, reshaping the city's parks department, continued redevelopment throughout the city and planning for future growth along the riverfront.
"I told the truth," Seabrook said about the city's current financial situation. "We didn't make anything up ... I used the State Board of Accounts information. I felt like I did everything right except win."
Gahan said Tuesday his campaign had to fight several "untruths" that were directed at his campaign.
"I thought from the very beginning our message was a very good message," the mayor said. "We want to continue to move the community forward."
He said he also knew he was facing a tough, experienced opponent in Seabrook.
"When he announced he was running for mayor, I knew he had a lot of political experience, a lot more than me," Gahan said. "When I saw his message I knew it was completely different than ours. I had a lot of confidence in our message and the people responded."
Seabrook said his political career was likely over after Tuesday's defeat, but he would continue to work for Republican candidates in future elections.
Gahan said he is excited about the next four years and about the future of the city.
"I am really excited about introducing people to the new city hall. I think they are going to be impressed with it," he said. "We still have a lot we want to do."
He will have a 5-3-1 majority on the city council for the next four years.