Newberry re-elects Conrad, newly elects Marden


Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 8:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 8:27 p.m.

NEWBERRY — In a city election that featured two incumbents, a former mayor and one newcomer, the voters of Newberry chose to mix the old with the new.

Mayor Bill Conrad was re-elected to a second term in his race against former mayor and longtime commissioner John Glanzer. Meanwhile, first-timer Tim Marden found success in his second City Commission campaign in as many years and was elected to his freshman term in city government over incumbent Commissioner Robert Fillyaw.

When the polls opened at 7 a.m. at the Newberry Fire Department on Northwest 250th Street, voters walked what Conrad calls "the gauntlet" to cast their ballots. Four tents — one for each candidate — were lined up in a row leading up to the fire station, so people could see and talk to the electoral hopefuls on their way to vote.

Conrad's grandson Henry — clad in a "Vote for my papa" shirt — played behind the tent with Tonka trucks and a T-ball set, while Fillyaw and his family had mini powdered donuts and other snacks laid out beneath theirs.

The Fillyaw family all wore personalized T-shirts with "Team Fillyaw" across the back in red. Fillyaw's shirt read "Vote for me," while his wife's proclaimed "Vote for my hubby."

Voter turnout was light from the morning through the early afternoon, Fillyaw said. But it picked up later on, with a final voter turnout of 22.6 percent. Turnout for city elections tends to be lower than for others.

After polls closed at 7 p.m., the candidates tore down their tents and packed campaign signs into cars as they waited to hear the results. Clusters of people chatted outside the fire station while poll workers inside the garage verified their final tallies.

People began to inch toward the entrance to the garage as it became clear the announcement of the winners was close. Everyone scooted up there when Judy Lewis, clerk of the election board, walked outside to present the results of each race.

She started with the mayoral competition: 520 votes for Conrad versus 261 for Glanzer. Then she announced Marden as the winning commissioner, with 446 votes to Fillyaw's 331.

Conrad won by a wider margin than Marden did, with 66.5 percent of the vote compared to Marden's 57.4 percent.

Once the results were announced, Fillyaw shook hands with Marden. Then the opponents clasped each other on the back in a one-armed hug.

Both winners were engulfed in a string of hugs from family and friends in front of the fire station.

"I'm excited for myself, but I'm more excited for Newberry," Marden said. "It's a vote of confidence, and I don't take that lightly whatsoever."

Marden got out into Newberry and talked to many voters before the election, which he said enlightened him on the concerns they have for the city moving forward.

Conrad summed up his reaction to being re-elected clearly but simply: "Feels wonderful."

He said the election results were a message from the people of Newberry that they want to continue in the town's current direction, in terms of developing its reputation as a sports tourism destination, but want to see a more balanced budget.

He campaigned on returning the city to a fiscal balance by addressing the debt it has accrued in recent years, while Marden made it clear to voters he plans to tighten the city's budgetary belt and shift its financial focus toward Newberry's needs more than its wants.

Friends and family who helped out on Election Day were there Tuesday evening to congratulate and console their respective candidates.

Christina Stainfield and her 18-year-old daughter, Charlene, spent a few hours holding signs for Marden, their neighbor, on Tuesday. Charlene said she could tell Marden wasn't just politicking when he talked to her about his campaign, but was having a real conversation.

Christina commended his desire to focus on the city's needs instead of its wants.

"And that's what Tim is about," she said. "He's about ‘Do you need it?' "

Rocky Voglio, a Newberry resident who used to run a barbecue restaurant in town, said he got to know Fillyaw, for whom he voted, well because Fillyaw and his family were regulars at his restaurant.

When the polls were still open, he said that any of the candidates would likely do a good job. But in the end, he pointed out, "You've got to pick someone."

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins26@gvillesun.com.

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