Election 2016 News

JAMES WINS: After contentious race, incumbent declares victory

It was 60 votes that handed incumbent Bowman City Commission President Lyn James another four-year term on Tuesday.

TWO CANDIDATES MINGLE — Republican candidate for North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum shares a friendly chat with Bowman Commission President Lyn James during a meet and greet with the candidate earlier this election season. Burgum later publicly endorsed James in her run to maintain her seat on the commission. (Pioneer Photo by Bryce Martin)
TWO CANDIDATES MINGLE — Republican candidate for North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum shares a friendly chat with Bowman Commission President Lyn James during a meet and greet with the candidate earlier this election season. Burgum later publicly endorsed James in her run to maintain her seat on the commission. (Pioneer File Photo/Bryce Martin)

By BRYCE MARTIN
Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

It was 60 votes that handed incumbent Bowman City Commission President Lyn James another four-year term on Tuesday.

The 12-year veteran of the city board defeated her fellow commissioner, Chuck Whitney, to retain her spot. Whitney, who was elected onto the city commission in 2012, lost with only 45 percent of the vote, or 298 votes.

James earned 363 total votes.

“I will do my very best to lead the city of Bowman into the future over the next four years,” James told The Pioneer on Wednesday. “I ran a strong, clean campaign based on merit and respect for the voters. That is what Bowman deserves.”

The race for city commission president was a contentious one.

Both candidates took to social media in the months leading up to the primary to attract and encourage voters but the discourse sometimes turned controversial, and supporters on either side made sure their opinions — sometimes combative in nature — were heard. Firm opinions of the candidates’ voting records and behavior were also laid out for the public in letters sent to The Pioneer.

Whitney, who served as garbage and street commissioner, vacated his seat as commissioner to run against James. He also served on the city’s Renaissance Zone committee and the Bowman County and Bowman City Planning and Zoning boards. He will be forced to relinquish those positions, along with his seat on the commission.

He will attend his final regular city meeting at the end of the month, at which time the new commissioner will be sworn into office.

James said newly elected officials are traditionally sworn in on the final Tuesday of the election month, but in the interest of saving taxpayer dollars, she said, the city’s regular meeting, scheduled for June 21, would be combined into the meeting June 28.

Whitney told The Pioneer he didn’t wish to make a comment on the results.