Extremely light turnout in Gaithersburg as Monroe is unseated

Gaithersburg Govt logoGAITHERSBURG — Shortly after 9:30 on Tuesday night, Gaithersburg’s Board of Supervisors of Elections announced the winners of the City’s election for Mayor and two members of the five-person City Council.

3,282 voters, or 9.29 percent of the city’s registered voters, cast ballots in the election, a slight decrease from the 2015 election, when voter turnout was 11.09 percent.

Mayor Jud Ashman and Council members Laurie-Anne Sayles and Michael A. Sesma will be sworn in at City Hall next Monday.

Sayles, a longtime community activist who has served on the City’s Education Enrichment and Economic Development Committees, this year received 1,953 votes, the most of the four candidates for City Council. She unseated Council member Yvette D. Monroe. After longtime Council member Henry F. Marraffa died Oct. 19 last year, Sayles was a finalist to serve the balance of his term, but the City Council appointed Monroe to the seat in January.

Sayles ran for City Council in 2015 and received more than 2,000 votes but fell short to incumbents Ryan Spiegel and Neil Harris and new Council Member Robert Wu.

“It was an educational experience going door to door,” Sayles said. “I got more immersed in the issues that people were concerned about. I had an awesome team behind me. My priorities are really just to get to work for the residents of Gaithersburg and implement what I chose to do, which is to have more oversight over our economic development and balance our economic development with sustaining our green spaces.”

Monroe, the recipient of Gaithersburg’s 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award and a past chairperson of the Education Enrichment Committee, ran for a full term this year, but fell short with 1,253 votes. The Council had chosen her out of a dozen applicants and five finalists to serve the remainder of Marraffa’s term.

“I’ll still be around,” Monroe said. “I enjoyed my time on the Council immensely. They’re a great group of people and they were great mentors. I learned a lot.” During her tenure, Monroe served as the Council liaison to the Senior Advisory Committee and said she might continue to be involved with them after leaving the Council.

Incumbent Mayor Jud Ashman ran unopposed this year and received 2,895 votes.

“I’m really delighted and grateful for the trust that the voters of Gaithersburg have put in me,” Ashman said. “I think it’s always an amazing and awe-inspiring thing when the voters get to speak. We have a new Council and I look forward to bringing everyone together into the effective, collegial governing body that we’ve enjoyed for many years.”

In 2015, he won a special election to serve the remaining two years of Katz's final term, defeating Marraffa and community activist Darline Bell-Zuccarelli. He was originally appointed as a Council member by his colleagues on the City Council to serve as Mayor, following longtime City Mayor Sidney Katz's election to the County Council in 2014.

Council member Michael A. Sesma, the City’s senior elected official, won a fourth term on the Council with 1,730 votes.

“I’m very happy for my personal result and disappointed for my colleague Yvette,” said Sesma, who frequently campaigned alongside Monroe. “I look forward to working with our new colleague. I think we’re all interested in the same things, making Gaithersburg an even better place than it is.”

The final Council candidate, Jim McNulty, chair of the Saybrooke Homeowner’s Association and a member of the City’s Olde Towne Advisory and Transportation Committees, received 1,259 votes, but that was not enough. He was another finalist for the balance of Marraffa’s term.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” McNulty said. “I thought we ran a really good race and I was glad to see that my neighborhood came out in force. Anytime you’re running for the first time, you have a higher bar of entry, you have to get your name out there. I still serve on two city committees and as president of Saybrooke, so I still have the opportunity to serve our community and I’ll continue to do that. I wish the winning candidates all the best and look forward to working with them.”


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