Po­lit­i­cal drama in Salmon Cove

Re­turn­ing of­fi­cer breaks deadlock af­ter two can­di­dates poll iden­ti­cal num­bers

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

It was sup­posed to be a low-key by­elec­tion in the Town of Salmon Cove on Jan. 17, but it turned out to be a night of po­lit­i­cal drama af­ter the two lead­ing can­di­dates — Lisa Rodgers and Mar­i­lynn Layman — polled an iden­ti­cal num­ber of votes.

In a scene rem­i­nis­cent of the con­tro­ver­sial may­oralty race in the Town of Par­adise in Septem­ber 2009, it was left in the hands of re­turn­ing of­fi­cer and town clerk Juanita Kor­pan to re­solve the deadlock.

The Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tions Act stip­u­lates that a draw take place to set­tle a tie, so Kor­pan wrote the two names on iden­ti­cal pieces of paper, folded them, mixed them in her hands, and threw them on the floor. Then, in front of the can­di­dates, she se­lected the piece of paper con­tain­ing Rodgers’ name.

“ We were all dumb­founded,” Kor­pan said. “ This is some­thing we’ve never seen in Salmon Cove.”

But un­like the sit­u­a­tion in Par­adise, where court chal­lenges en­sued and na­tional head­lines were made, there were no hard feel­ings, said Kor­pan.

The bal­lots were counted three times, with the third-place can­di­date, Ja­nine Butt, gar­ner­ing 46 votes.

Kor­pan said it felt more like a gen­eral elec­tion than a by­elec­tion.

“ We were steady for the whole 12 hours the polls were open,” she said.

A turnout of 228 vot­ers — there are some 350-plus el­i­gi­ble vot­ers in the town — sur­prised ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the win­ner.

Rodgers said all three can­di­dates were on the phones, try­ing to get vot­ers out.

“I called close to 300 peo­ple,” said Rodgers, who served as the town clerk in Salmon Cove from2001 to 2008.

She re­called one by­elec­tion sev­eral years ago in which some 90 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated.

When asked about her pri­or­i­ties, Rodgers said recre­ation, en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, and the town’s fi­nances.

The by­elec­tion was re­quired fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of for­mer mayor Roy Rose in the sum­mer of 2010. Rose died of can­cer on Oct. 12 at the age of 58.

Rodgers will be sworn in at the coun­cil’s next meet­ing on Jan. 31.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

Lisa Rodgers is the new­est mem­ber of the coun­cil in the Town of Salmon Cove.

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