Richland City Council incumbents fend off challengers

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldNovember 5, 2013 

Richland City Council members Sandra Kent and David Rose easily were fending off challengers in bids to keep their seats in Tuesday's election.

And in the city's other contested council race to the fill the seat that will be left open by the retirement of John Fox at the end of the year, Gregory L. Jones was leading Melody Reed with 3,594 votes, or about 55 percent.

Jones said he appreciates voters' confidence in him and will "support their beliefs in the city of Richland and their vision for the future" if the results hold as more ballots are counted.

The initial round of election results included about 24,300 ballots, and elections officials estimate another 15,000 are left to be counted in Benton County.

Council members make $1,090 a month. Council terms typically are four years, but in Richland the winning candidate with the fewest votes in each election serves a two-year term.

In the race for Position 3, incumbent Kent had 5,303 votes, or about 82 percent, against challenger Eldon Eskeli, who had 1,165 votes, or about 18 percent.

Kent, who joined the council in 2008, said she was glad to see Richland voters show up at the ballot box, and, "I appreciate folks expressing their confidence in me."

In the race for Position 4, incumbent Rose had a handy lead over challenger Eric Kalia, drawing 5,274 votes, or about 82 percent, to Kalia's 1,159 votes, or about 18 percent.

Rose, currently the mayor pro tem, told the Herald that he's honored to be able to represent citizens for another term.

He added that he plans to throw his hat in the ring for the mayor position at the start of next year. Under Richland's form of government, the seven-member council chooses a mayor from within its ranks every two years.

Rose has been on the council for nine years.

A fourth Richland council position also was on the ballot in Tuesday's election. Councilman Bob Thompson ran unopposed to keep his Position 1 seat.

The election results will be certified Nov. 26.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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