After spending the day in the sun outside city hall on a chilly spring day Tuesday, a sunburned St. Clair Mayor Ron Blum said he was at home relaxing and getting warm when he heard that he had been re-elected for a fourth term.
Blum, 57, easily defeated challenger Ramon Dominguez by nearly a 2-to-1 tally in Tuesday’s municipal election. The incumbent mayor will serve his city for another four years.
“I sincerely appreciate the confidence the citizens have in this administration,” Blum told The Missourian on Wednesday morning. “I think we’re all on the same page with the same goal to make St. Clair a better place for all of us to live.”
The official vote count was 214-112, or 66 percent for Blum and 34 percent for Dominguez. Turnout in the St. Clair city limits was only 11.9 percent. Across the county, voter participation was 18.7 percent.
According to the Franklin County Clerk’s Office, St. Clair had 2,743 registered voters on Election Day.
“With nothing else on our ballot, I actually thought the turnout was a little better than I anticipated,” Blum said. “I had people come out of city hall after they had voted telling me they had turned their ballot over to see if there was anything else on it.”
The mayor said that despite the low numbers, he believes the voting public is sending a strong message to the city.
“I believe they’re telling this administration that they want us to continue in the direction we’re going,” he said. “I think that message is pretty clear. Because of that, my reaction to being re-elected is we have a lot more work to do and have at least another four years to work on it.”
Since Blum first took office in 2007, he has emphasized infrastructure improvements, a more organized and streamlined city government, doing the most he can with limited amount of resources and finances and trying to bring in additional retail development. Each time he has run for his office, his platform has included all of those points with an emphasis as well to close the St. Clair Regional Airport on the north side of town.
He said that will continue.
“We have to continue to pursue job creation and retail development,” he said. “We have to go after this with whatever means we have. We have more road projects in the works and we need to continue to work aggressively toward retail development. That’s the key to our growth.”
Blum and his administration is hopeful to close the airport so the 80-acre site can be used for retail development. Another 33 acres near the airport along the newly realigned North Service Road stands ready for use.
“We must create jobs so our young people can stay here,” Blum said. “Growth and retail go hand in hand for us.”
Blum did spend Tuesday outside city hall. Both he and Dominguez greeted people throughout the day as they came to vote.
“I had numerous good talks with people,” he said. “Most often, we talked about the airport and our need to close it. People just want it done and over with. It’s good to know that St. Clair people still realize the need to close it.”
The mayor also said he had good conversations with Dominguez throughout the day.
“We talked a lot about the city and its challenges,” he said. “We discussed progressing our city and continuing to move it forward.”
Blum said he remained relatively confident throughout the day on Tuesday, but he never took the outcome for granted.
“All day Tuesday, I felt that regardless of the outcome, I’ve done the best I could do,” he said. “We have a good staff at city hall and they work hard. I feel the progress we’ve made over the last several years will continue either with or without me.
“I’m just happy that we will continue to have the consistency and stability here that we need.”
Blum had additional praise for the city’s employees.
“It takes a good core of individuals to do the job we’ve done and still need to do,” he said. “It’s a group effort here. I’m fortunate and blessed to have the staff we have and a community that believes in and supports their administration.
“We’re ready to keep working. There is no rest for the weary. We’re all in this together.”
The race for mayor was the only contested one on the local ballot on Tuesday, but other individuals were re-elected to their seats after running unopposed.
In the city, Zach Fuchs will serve for another two years as a Ward 1 alderman after picking up 143 of 144 votes cast. In Ward 2, Barb McGlenn also will stay after garnering 133 of 135 votes.
A. David Arand will continue to be the city’s municipal court judge after getting 273 of 276 votes.
In Parkway Village, three incumbents running unopposed also retained their seats as trustees. With 53 total ballots turned in, Chairman Bob Pelton received 20 votes, Rex Pingleton got 17 and Charles Ball received 16.