CUMBERLAND — It was a closer race than Anna Pea wanted it to be, but the Cumberland Town Council incumbent for District 3 won the Republican nomination to keep her seat.
After hearing the primary results Tuesday night, Pea wrapped her arms around her granddaughter and got a congratulatory hug.
“I’m really honored to represent the people,” Pea said. “I think the town is heading in the right direction, and I am going to work hard to keep it going.”
According to the Marion County election office, Pea finished with 55 percent of the vote, while opponents Michael Wherry and Don Engerer captured 36 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Though officials agree Pea is the clear winner, there has been some question about the final vote tallies, which include two sets of numbers — ballots cast early in Hancock County and ballots cast on Election Day in Marion County.
Figures released Tuesday at the lone polling site for the District 3 race, located in Marion County, put Pea at 97 votes, with Wherry trailing close behind at 79 votes and Engerer at 19. Marion County officials later adjusted Pea’s vote total to 121.
Hancock County officials say those figures did not include a handful of early votes, however, which would shift the final results slightly, with Pea still in the lead.
Pea said her camp plans to check with Marion County officials about the discrepancy, but Tuesday night she was celebrating a victory.
While she said she felt pretty good about her chances of winning the primary, Pea said she made a few last-minute calls during Election Day to get supporters to the polls.
“I learned that from another town council member,” she said with a smile.
Pea was up against Engerer, a well-liked former council member, and political newcomer in Wherry.
Wherry expressed disappointment in the outcome.
“I was hoping for closer, but it is what it is,” Wherry said.
Engerer, a former two-term city council member, said he had a feeling the day was not going his way.
“People asked me to run, but they just didn’t get out and vote,” he said. “It isn’t the first election I’ve lost.”
Pea said those who follow her work know she has tried hard over the past four years to represent residents who live in the area. She said her biggest goal has been to make Cumberland a better place for people to live and work.
One of the reasons Engerer said he wanted to get back on the council was because he felt Pea neglected to keep residents up to date on issues happening in the community.
It’s a point Pea disputed all along in her campaign. She has kept people up to date by email, she said.
Wherry, a Mt. Vernon High School graduate, was the 2010 Libertarian Party candidate for secretary of state. He said he ran for the District 3 seat because he wasn’t happy with direction the town was headed.
He ran on the promise that, if elected, he would make sure money was used wisely for things like road repair rather than things like trails.
Pea argued town officials are starting to turn the corner on making the area a better place to live. She added she’s proud of the work she’s done the past four years.
“I feel like people know that I put a lot of time and effort into economic development,” she said.
Cumberland Town Council