Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, was unseated from her position on City Council by candidate Alan Swank on Tuesday, according to unofficial election results from the Athens County Board of Elections.
Swank was the first primary challenger Fahl faced since her election to Council in 2009. According to the results, Fahl received 34.75% of votes whereas Swank received 65.25% of votes.
“I think that it's great that we've had a fully democratic election, you know that's really super important,” Fahl said. “Alan did the work that he had to do, which is great, and I'm just going to finish out my term, doing the things that I do for Athens.”
Swank extended his thanks to Fahl for her 12 years of service to the city as well as the positive manner in which she ran her campaign. He also extended thanks to his treasurer, John Barrington, as well as his wife, his committee members and the voters that participated in the election.
The 4th Ward race was the only race on the ballot for Athens County and had low voter turnout, sitting at only 9.5%. In the March 2020 primary election, there was a voter turnout of 21.25%. However, in contrast to the single race on the ballot this year, there were 19 races on the March 2020 ballot.
“This was the only election in Athens County, it wasn't on the front page of the papers, so people had to think about it and make a real effort to get out and vote,” Swank said. “I truly appreciate their engagement in the democratic process.”
Swank said he will begin taking action on his campaign goals right away. Once the election results are made official, he will be sworn in January 2022. However, he plans to stay in contact with residents of the 4th Ward in the interim and stay up to date on issues citizens want addressed.
“If you live in the 4th Ward, if you live in the city, and you have things you'd like to share with me, please call, please email, and I'll do the best of my ability to get back with you in a timely manner, because we work together to help Athens grow and help Athens continue to become a place that we're all proud of,” Swank said, “A welcoming environment, in a city that people want to live in and a city that people want to come to visit.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the election occurred Monday, not Tuesday. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.