Big changes in Jerome's council election

Final two incumbents withdraw names from ballot

The Jerome Town Council election outlook has changed drastically.

Before the primary, four incumbents and four challengers were competing for the five open seats. One incumbent, John Scarcella, was not running for re-election.

That left four incumbents, Mayor Jane Moore and council members John Bouwman, Jet Tennant and Lisa Rappaport, running for reelection against four challengers, Anne Bassett, Luis Galuzzi, Rebekah Kennedy and Gil Robinson.

Moore and Bouwman won their seats outright during the primary by receiving at least 50 percent of the votes cast plus one. With 168 votes cast, Bouwman took the first spot with 106 votes to Moore's 104.

Missing outright election by one vote each were incumbent Jet Tennant and challenger Gil Robinson. They each took 84 votes but needed 85 to be elected.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Rappaport received 77 votes.

All of the candidates who did not win outright election were to go on to the general election in May. The two incumbents, Tennant and Rappaport would go up against four challengers.

Election talk in Jerome favored Tennant, Robinson and Rappaport filling out the new council.

But that picture changed Friday.

Rappaport and Tennant both withdrew their names from the general election ballot, leaving only the four challengers to battle it out for the three seats.

The situation also makes unclear who will serve as mayor. In Jerome, the council elects the mayor from the ranks of council members. Jane Moore was elected two years ago as mayor after serving as vice mayor on the previous council with Jay Kinsella as mayor.

Although it isn't official, the traditional manner of selecting which council member will serve as mayor is to give it to the top vote getter, if that person doesn't decline.

Because councilman Bouwman beat Moore in the primary election, it is generally believed around Jerome that he will be mayor if he is willing to accept the position.

Other political observers in Jerome say that the general election could change that if one of the candidates receives more than the 106 votes Bouwman received in the primary. Some argue that it is the vote total in the primary that should decide because that is the only election with all the names on the ballot.

However the election of council members and a new mayor goes, it is going to be one of the most watched -- and talked about -- elections in recent Jerome history.

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