RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–After hours of re-counting ballots last night, a court official declared Jon Baliles the winner of the city’s first district council race.
One political observer sees it as a major win for the mayor who he believes will be calling the shots over the next four years.
It’s been a tight race between city councilman Bruce Tyler and insurance broker Jonathan Baliles in the first district. And it’s been a long race, ending after six weeks.
“I’ve believed all along that there are disenfranchised voters in this race that need to be counted,” said Tyler.
Balilies said he didn’t think the outcome would change and he’s looking forward to the next four years.
After an eight hour recount of voting machine tape, absentee, and provisional ballots, there was no change to the november election results.
Tyler won’t say right now if he’ll concede the race. “I haven’t made any decisions one way or another,” he said.
Paul Goldman, government watchdog, said there a couple of things Tyler could do.
“But they’re not going to work,” he said. ”It’s just going to make him look like a sore loser.”
Goldman’s advice is to congratulate Baliles on a win “and go on with his life.”
Still, Goldman said if Tyler steps aside, Mayor Jones has knocked off two of his biggest critics; Bruce Tyler and Marty Jewell.
And Goldman believes that will be detrimental to city taxpayers.
“The mayor’s got a rubber stamp right now,” he said. “The question is what emerges over the next few months.”
“For the taxpayers, they’re going to keep spending for a wasteful city bureaucracy,” he added.
Mayor Jones disagrees.
“The issue is when you become personality driven instead of issue driven,” he said. “The issue is when you are not able to see the macrovision as well as the microvision.”
Tyler said he doesn’t feel as though he attacked the mayor. “What i have done is tried to improve the policies he brought or put in place or tried to put in place because ultimately this is about making this city, the best city it can possibly be,” said Tyler.
Tyler said he will sit down with his attorneys and decide tomorrow if he’ll continue to challenge this race.
And that could mean going before city council members and asking them to not seat Baliles. We’ll continue to follow this developing story.