Voters return “Team Laurel” incumbents to office -- Gazette.Net


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Laurel voters chose to return the full slate of incumbents to office in Tuesday’s election, rejecting the bids of three challengers.

Tuesday night’s results are unofficial until they have been certified by the Board of Election Supervisors. Provisional and absentee ballots have not been counted.

A total of 1,033 ballots were cast, less than 7 percent of Laurel’s 16,065 registered voters, said Kim Rau, the clerk of the board of election supervisors.

Rau said 99 absentee ballots were cast. Absentee ballots were going to be counted later Wednesday.

The council incumbents, billing themselves “Team Laurel,” campaigned as a group.

Councilman at-large Mike Leszcz, 66, defeated a challenge from youth advocate Adrian Rousseau, 50, by a 604-389 vote.

Rousseau said he would continue to be active in the city whether he won or lost.

“I’ll continue to do what I do. Serve the community. I’ve been a volunteer for over 25 years, and I don’t plan to stop that,” Rousseau said. “I’m still going to be here.”

In Ward 1, incumbents Valerie Nicholas, 49, and H. Edward Ricks, 68, received 430 and 410 votes, respectively, while challenger John M. Smith, 55, received 149.

Smith said most people running for office don’t win the first time, and he is considering another bid in two years.

“It was my first time out, so it was a good experience,” Smith said. “I was glad to get out there and meet people, and also to help people realize that everyday people like me can run for office, that it’s not just career politicians.”

In Ward 2, incumbents Donna Crary, 54, and Council President Frederick Smalls, 63, received 335 and 288 votes, respectively, while challenger Thomas Matthews, 52, received 218.

janfenson-comeau@gazette.net