- Ed Richter Staff Writer
Former Franklin councilman Matt Wilcher was elected back to council after losing his seat two years ago.
On Tuesday, Wilcher joined incumbent Mayor Denny Centers and Councilman Michael Aldridge in winning four-year terms on council. Incumbent Vice Mayor Carl Bray lost his re-election bid in the four-way race for three open seats.
According to the final, unofficial results from the Warren County Board of Elections, Aldridge was the leading vote-getter with 27 percent of the vote. Centers received 25.6 percent of the vote; Wilcher collected 23.83 percent of the vote; and Bray followed with 23.49 percent of the vote. Because the margin between Wilcher and Bray was less than one-half of 1 percent, there will be an automatic recount. Two years ago, Councilwoman Debbie Fouts was elected by one vote after a close race and automatic recount.
“I like a challenge,” Wilcher said about the close margin between him and Bray. “Franklin came out swinging for me and I’m going to do all I can to make Franklin great… If we are complacent, we’ll get stagnant.”
He said that he was “overwhelmed with joy that everyone got behind him and supported him in the election.”
Wilcher said he was hurt by the Facebook endorsement made by council members supporting the incumbents. However, he thinks that actually helped him and gave him an advantage.
“I’m willing to look past that and I want to work hard for the city,” Wilcher said. “I’m not going to fault him for that.”
He said he wants the city to get moving in fighting crime and the drug problem, things that are important on his agenda. Wilcher also wants to see that streets are getting fixed and want to proceed on the expansion of Community Park.
Aldridge was re-elected to a fourth four-year term and said he and his family are active in the community and in the Franklin school district as well as going door to door to campaign.
“I’m humbled by the level of support I’ve received,” he said. “You can’t predict these things with such low voter turnout.”
Aldridge said he was “surprised” that Bray was not re-elected. “We have a great council and we work well together.”
He also said that he’s looking forward to working with Wilcher and that the Facebook endorsement was not intended to slight him.
Bray and Centers could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.