WEIRTON - After 16 years representing residents of Marland Heights on City Council, George Kondik will become Weirton's 11th mayor.
He prevailed in Tuesday's election over Councilman Harold "Bubba" Miller in a race that was tight until the very end. Miller held a slight lead until the ballots from Kondik's Ward 5 arrived at the City Building. The unofficial total shows Kondik with 1,818 votes to Miller's 1,579. A vote canvass will occur at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the City Building to determine official tallies.
"I'm very excited and honored to be elected ... and I will continue to be involved with economic development and community projects," said Kondik following his victory. "I'm very concerned with the future of our city to make it a more prosperous environment for residents and businesses and I'm looking forward to working with the new council."
Kondik takes over for Mark Harris, who chose not to seek a second term as mayor. Harris made an unsuccessful bid in 2010 for Hancock County Clerk, losing to 20-year incumbent Eleanor Straight in the primary.
Tuesday's election also saw four contested council races decided in Weirton.
In Ward 1, incumbent Councilman and state Delegate Ronnie Jones expected a tight race after he and challenger Bill Zanieski were deadlocked following the primary, and that's what he got. Jones, D-Hancock, edged Zanieski 236-216.
"I'm glad I've got another four years to work for Weirton," said Jones, who recently retired after more than 40 years working for the Weirton Area Water Board.
In Ward 2, Charles Wright defeated Weirton Area Ambulance and Rescue Squad Medical Operations Director Eric Zaney, 294-194. He will succeed Miller, who instead sought the mayor's office.
"I'm grateful to the people of the 2nd Ward for putting their confidence in me," said Wright, who serves as vice chairman of the Weirton Sanitary Board.
It was a good night for incumbents, with Ward 4 Councilman George Ash defeating challenger George Vacheresse, 187 to 85. Ash thanked the people of his ward for giving him "a vote of confidence."
In Ward 5, Weirton Transit Corp. board member George Gaughenbaugh will fill the council seat vacated by Kondik. He defeated opponent Tracy DiBacco in a landslide, 532 to 240.
The races for the remaining three council seats were uncontested. Incumbents Fred Marsh and David Dalrymple will serve another term representing wards 3 and 6, respectively. Newcomer Terry Weigel, the city's parks and recreation director, will take over for Ward 7 Councilman Max Fijewski.
He chose not to seek re-election.