Mitch Rhodus wins Fairfield mayor race

Former Fairfield City Council member Mitch Rhodus campaigns at Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard in Fairfield on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, in his bid for the city's mayor. He is running against former council member and former vice mayor Debbie Pennington. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Caption
Former Fairfield City Council member Mitch Rhodus campaigns at Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard in Fairfield on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, in his bid for the city's mayor. He is running against former council member and former vice mayor Debbie Pennington. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Mitch Rhodus will be Fairfield’s next mayor for the next four years.

The former city council member bested the city’s former vice mayor Debbie Pennington 52.35% to 47.65%, according to unofficial election results.

Rhodus said he wants to restart joint meetings with neighboring local governments, which was something the late former mayor Erick Cook did during his tenure.

“He was a huge unifier,” said the mayor-elect.

Rhodus said he and his team “worked hard” and “stayed to our principles.”

“We talked to a lot of Fairfield people, and so I have a big, long list of their wants, their wishes, and their desires,” he said.

Rhodus attributes “tailgate campaigning” as one reason for his successful Election Night. For 20 to 30 nights straight, he would tailgate, with permission, in a resident’s driveway and seek feedback from neighbors. He wants to incorporate that into a regular event over the next four years.

But Rhodus said his top goal is to attract better restaurants to the city, and he said he plans to be “aggressive.”

“I’m going to aggressively go out and search for land, and if the city has to buy to hold it to make sure we own it, and then we find the restaurant we want on our land,” Rhodus said.

Debbie Pennington was seeking to be Fairfield’s first female mayor, and though she narrowly lost, she still won.

“I felt like that I made so many friends, and met new people. It just warmed my heart, the well-wishes and the backing that I got from the community ... I really feel like I won, in my heart,” she said. “We gave it 110 percent and I have no regrets. I ran a hard, clean race.”

Pennington said she won’t say never, but won’t commit at this time to seeking elected office in the future.

“I just want to do what the people want,” she said.

Caption
Former Fairfield City Council member Mitch Rhodus campaigns at Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard in Fairfield on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, in his bid for the city's mayor. He is running against former council member and former vice mayor Debbie Pennington. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Former Fairfield City Council member Mitch Rhodus campaigns at Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard in Fairfield on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, in his bid for the city's mayor. He is running against former council member and former vice mayor Debbie Pennington. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Caption
Former Fairfield City Council member Mitch Rhodus campaigns at Fairfield High School on Holden Boulevard in Fairfield on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2021, in his bid for the city's mayor. He is running against former council member and former vice mayor Debbie Pennington. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

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