Bluff, Williams elected in Clarkdale<br><i>Home rule extended four more years</i>

Mike Bluff becomes the first voter-elected mayor of Clarkdale after defeating fellow councilman Rennie Radoccia.

Votes cast for positions or issues totaled 1,102.

Mayor

Current council member Michael "Mike" Bluff took 651 votes, or 59.07 percent -- over current council member Reynold P. "Rennie" Radoccia, who had 451 votes, or 40.93 percent -- to win the town's first elected mayoral seat.

Bluff said Wednesday, "I was surprised; I was very surprised."

He praised his and Rex Williams' opponents, Radoccia and Doug Von Gausig, for their hard work at campaigning.

Regarding the votes received by Radoccia and Von Gausig, Bluff said it's important for him and Williams "to not ignore that" and to take those voters into consideration when making future decisions.

"And we'll do that – I know Rex is a man of integrity," the mayor-elect said.

Asked how it feels to be the town's first voter-elected mayor, Bluff said, "It's nice to be the first elected mayor; it's humbling."

He said he thought the people of Clarkdale wanted "to be picking their own mayor."

Bluff said, "I appreciate the support that Rex and I got."

"And I appreciate everybody keeping this campaign relatively clean," he added.

Radoccia said, "I'm relieved. I've been doing community service since 1986."

"The downside is that I won't be involved in local politics," he said. "But the upside it that I do get to retire from public service."

Regarding the 40 percent of the vote he and Von Gausig received, Radoccia said, "I think it's an important message to be looked at.

"Forty percent is significant," said the lame-duck council member. I think Mike and Rex are going to have to look at that. I wish them both well."

During campaigning, many people expressed concerns about water and controlling growth, especially not to develop the Peck's Lake area, he said.

"But only 40 percent put their money where their mouth is," said Radoccia.

"I think people are going to have to hurt a lot more, before they are willing to put their money where their mouth is," he added. "They're just going to have to suffer more before they make the change."

Radoccia said he's going to enjoy being out of public office now, although he has concerns about over-development, loss of open space, and the idea that "More is better."

He said he hopes moderate views, sensitive to environmental concerns, will prevail in future town decisions.

"I just love this place that we all live in; I put the last 15-16 years of my life into it," he added.

Bluff's campaign motto was "Common-sense solutions with issues; committed to Clarkdale's future."

Radoccia's was "An experienced leader who speaks out, takes a stand, and listens."

Bluff, 43, is an attorney and owner of a construction business in Clarkdale.

He has a juris doctorate in law from University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and a master's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

A council member for the past six years, Bluff served as mayor during the first two years. He has lived most of his life in the Verde Valley, with 16 years in Clarkdale.

Current Mayor Andy Vircsik's and Radoccia's council terms expire in June. (Bluff's current council term expires in June 2004.)

Council

Taking the single council seat that was up for grabs in the primary election is Rex Williams, who received 643 votes, or 58.94 percent.

Opponent Doug Von Gausig received 446 votes, or 40.88 percent.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Williams said, "I have no grasp of it (his win) as yet. It's a whole new field for me."

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