Athens City Council will be entirely Democratic after incumbent Patrick McGee, I-At Large, lost his seat in Tuesday night’s election.
McGee was ousted by Democrat Beth Clodfelter, who received 1,940 votes, or 23.57% of the total vote, compared with McGee’s 1,113, or 13.52%.
Incumbents Sarah Grace and Peter Kotses retained their seats with 1,458 and 1,456 votes, respectively.
“The very first thing I would like to do is to get better lighting in the dark parts of town to make our population safer,” Clodfelter said shortly after the results were finalized.
McGee will end his tenure on City Council this year as his second term ends. He has long been an oppositional voice on the otherwise Democratic Council.
“I’m supposed to take care of your money, watch your money and make sure it's not spent foolishly and wasted,” McGee said at an October forum. “I’ve tried to do that, and I’ve pointed it out to City Council on numerous occasions.”
Ellie Hamrick, a socialist candidate, received 593 votes, or 7.2%. Chris Monday, an independent, received 576 votes, or 7%.
Hamrick, along with mayoral candidate Damon Krane, charged that Athens City Council wasn’t doing enough to curb bad landlords in Athens. The two centered their campaigns around “Operation Slumlord Smackdown,” an effort to control rent and strengthen city code enforcement.
“Residents should not have to be paying an arm and a leg for terrible housing conditions. Safe and livable housing is a human right,” Hamrick said in a previous Post report.
Dylan Vanover, a socialist who supported Hamrick, said he hoped she would bring a renter’s voice if elected to City Council. He argued that city officials who largely do not rent their homes don’t represent the majority of Athens residents who do.
“We have a de facto un-democratic system of government here in the city,” Vanover said.
Monday said he planned to continue to fight the status quo in Athens despite not winning a seat on City Council.
“The two parties that have dominated this country for many, many years have really done nothing but promote the interests of big money … If you take away the social issues that are the thin, easily-seen-through facade, then you see two parties that are just fighting for different big money interests,” Monday said. I was trying to be a little part of a big machine to help stop that in a government position, but now, I am forced to be a little part of that machine in a non-government position.”
Clodfelter said she understood worries about groupthink on a single-party City Council but added that Democrats can still have diverse opinions.
“I’ve been attending City Council meetings regularly since January, and I’ve met individually with all the City Council members, and we are so different,” she said. “We have different priorities.”