By C.J. LOVELACE
1:06 PM EST, November 7, 2012
Democratic challenger David S. Gysberts held a sizable lead over incumbent Republican Robert E. Bruchey II in the race for mayor of Hagerstown, according to complete but unofficial election results Tuesday night.
With 18 of 18 precincts reporting and early voting results, Gysberts had collected 7,237 votes to Bruchey’s total of 5,127.
“The people have spoken,” Gysberts, who lost his first mayoral bid to Bruchey by more than 500 votes, said at 10:15 p.m.. “With good luck, things will continue to go well and we’ll have some change here in Hagerstown.”
Bruchey was seeking his third elected term as mayor. He won in the 1997 race, then lost in 2001 and 2005 before he was appointed to the post in 2006. He was re-elected in 2009.
In an interview with HMTV6, Bruchey said it was a long, “roller coaster” kind of a day.
“We knew it was going to be a different race because of changing Election Day, more people getting out to vote,” he said. “We knew we were up for some challenges, and David just pulled it off. Congratulations to him.”
Asked what it felt like to be the next mayor of Hagerstown, Gysberts said it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but he will have a few weeks to prepare before he is sworn in later this month.
Gysberts said he learned a lot from his 2009 loss to Bruchey, and having more time to knock on doors and listen to the concerns of the citizens was a big plus this time around in his campaign.
“I think that’s what did it,” he said. “I learned from that experience.”
A total of 727 absentee ballots were issued to city voters, and 462 were returned as of Tuesday morning, according to the Washington County Board of Elections.
Approximately 250 to 300 more countywide absentee ballots postmarked Tuesday had been received, but not yet counted in the “returned” figure, county Election Director Kaye Robucci said. The total number of absentee ballots from just city voters was not available Tuesday night, she said.
Although it appears it won’t really change the outcome, the first round of absentee ballots will be counted Thursday. Provisional ballots will be tallied Wednesday, Nov. 14, and any remaining absentee ballots will be counted Friday, Nov. 16 before results are finalized.
Back in April, Bruchey advanced through the primary election by topping challenger Brian D. Caron by a 1,102 to 803 margin. Gysberts, running unopposed, collected 1,416 total votes.
Bruchey defeated Gysberts in 2009 with 56 percent of the total vote, receiving 1,749 to Gysberts’ 1,240.
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