FAIRMONT - Two new faces will be on Fairmont City Council in 2013, with Chad Askeland defeating the incumbent in Ward 2 and Terry Anderson capturing the seat for Ward 4.
Also up for election this year was the at-large council seat. Incumbent Wes Clerc will continue to represent the city in this position, receiving 3,039 votes over challenger Craig Nelson's 1,828 votes.
Askeland was up against Harlan Gorath, who has served on the council since 1996. The race was close, with Askeland earning 767 votes to Gorath's 682.
Askeland, 27, was nearly speechless upon receiving the news.
"I'm really, really happy," he said. "I put a ton of hard work into [my campaign] and I'm happy that it all paid off. I think that everybody in this ward is really ready for a fresh perspective and a new voice in this ward, and I'm happy to be it. I really am."
Gorath called to congratulate the political newcomer before returning a call to the Sentinel requesting comment.
"I'd like to tell all the citizens in Ward 2 who supported me all these years that I enjoyed being their Ward 2 council representative, and I'll continue to do the best I can do 'til the end of the term," he said. "And I want to commend Chad Askeland on his political professionalism and wish him the best of luck, and also I want to thank everyone who came out to vote to exercise their right to vote, and I hope the voters continue to keep that political involvement in the days ahead, because citizen input is a very important part of city government."
For Ward 4, Anderson defeated James Hardt and write-in candidate Wayne Hasek. The breakdown was 527 votes for Anderson; 282 for Hardt; and 217 for Hasek.
In a prepared comment, Anderson said: "I just wish to thank the Lord for this victory; my wife Susan and my family for putting up with me during the election; and my many, many friends and voters who knew what needed to be done and voted for me ...
"I will do what I promised and listen to their needs and I will act accordingly in standing up for their rights."