By Robert Tomlinson
THREE RIVERS — Three hotly-contested races for Three Rivers City Commission ended up with the incumbents pulling out relatively close re-elections.
As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, unofficial results from Three Rivers with 100% of precincts reporting showed that Tom Lowry, Pat Dane and Torrey Brown won re-election to their seats for two-year terms ending in 2025.
In the mayoral race, Lowry defeated challenger Vernis Mims, garnering 479 votes (52.5 percent) to Mims’ 428 votes (46.9 percent), with six write-in votes cast. Dane defeated challenger John Kish in the race for First District commissioner, receiving 455 votes (51.8 percent) to Kish’s 416 (47.3 percent), with eight write-in votes cast. Brown had the most comfortable victory, defeating challenger Jason Reeves for the At-Large commissioner seat, getting 508 votes (60.5 percent) to Reeves’ 325 (38.7 percent), with seven write-in votes cast.
Third District Commissioner Chris Abel also won re-election, running unopposed and garnering 717 votes with 22 write-in votes being cast.
Lowry said while he was “surprised” it was as close a race as it was, he said he is looking forward to another two years as mayor of Three Rivers, which will bring him to 28 non-consecutive years in the position.
“I want to thank the voters of Three Rivers that came out and voted, and I thank the majority who chose me again,” Lowry said. “It’s a seat I feel blessed to be in, and I treat that responsibility very highly, and I will always do that as long as I’m allowed.”
As for Mims, he congratulated Lowry on his victory, and thanked those who voted for him despite the narrow loss.
“I want to thank those that voted for me, and I’m thankful to try, and I will be back to try to be a change in our community,” Mims said.
Lowry had defeated Mims and Natelege Zaritz in the August primary election, where Lowry gained 53 percent of the vote and Mims garnered 33.6 percent.
As for the First District race, Dane said she was appreciative of the votes she received, and is looking ahead to what’s to come in the next two years.
“I’m very pleased. I really am. I’m excited and look forward to the next couple of years,” Dane said. “Hopefully we can get some answers about the water and watch Three Rivers grow.”
As for Kish, he said he was “a bit surprised” by the result, but in the end congratulated Dane on the victory and wished her luck in the next two years.
“Congratulations to Pat. I don’t know what I could’ve done different, but everyone has spoken, and I wish her absolutely the best in the upcoming term,” Kish said. “I will continue to fulfill the rest of my term as chairman of the Planning Commission, and I’ll be more than happy to continue on in that role.”
For Dane, it will be her fourth full term on the city commission, and would make it nine years overall if she makes it through this next term.
In the At-Large race, Brown said his win was a “vote of confidence” in his work on the city commission.
“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, and I appreciate the vote of confidence in what I do, and I plan to continue the efforts I’m making to improve out city,” Brown said.
Reeves congratulated Brown on his victory as well.
“I’m not really surprised at the way it went, but I’m happy for him, and I congratulate him,” Reeves said. “I hope he does good around town.”
For Brown, it will be his second full term on the city commission, having been elected in 2021 via write-in.
Turnout for Tuesday’s election in Three Rivers was 18.55 percent, with 920 out of 4,960 registered voters casting a vote, nearly doubling the 9.31 percent turnout and 482 total voters in the November 2021 election. City Clerk Leslie Wilson told the Commercial-News that as of 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, 500 out of about 720 absentee ballots sent out to voters were returned.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.