Cookendorfer elected RW Mayor

RIDGEWAY – In a deeply divided race for mayor and two council seats, three candidates who ran as a block won as a block, tipping the balance of power in the Ridgeway town government.

Councilman Heath Cookendorfer, with 71 votes (54.20 percent), bested Councilwoman Angela Harrison, with 59 votes (45.04 percent) to capture the mayor’s seat.

Newcomer Dan Martin, with 77 votes (30.43 percent), and former mayor and councilman Rufus Jones, with 66 votes (26.09 percent), won the two vacant council seats over Rick Johnson, 59 votes (23.32 percent), and Roger Herring, 51 votes (20.15 percent).

There was one write-in vote for Rufus Jones for mayor. Of the town’s 229 registered voters, 131 (57.21 percent) turned out to cast their ballots.

Among the issues at stake in the race were the future of the current four members of the Pig on the Ridge steering committee and Bella the dog whose tenure at Town Hall had been on the block for more than a year.

“It feels good to be in a position to get Ridgeway back on track,” Cookendorfer told The Voice following the election. “I’m thankful for those who voted for me and for those who supported me. I want to thank my running mates, Dan Martin and Rufus Jones, and I’m proud of how they ran their campaigns. We’re going to work together and with the council. We need cohesiveness so we can move Ridgeway forward. Go Ridgeway!”

Martin echoed Cookendorfer’s desire to bring the town together after a campaign that divided much of the town.

“What Ridgeway needs most right now is unity between residents and council,” Martin said. “It was clearly a divided race, and we have some people who are hurting. This is Ridgeway, and I hope we can all come together now, heal and move forward. We will do our best, I promise, to help make that happen.”

Rufus Jones, mayor from 2000-2004, made a political comeback that, he said, made him feel really fortunate.

“Our goal, all three of us, is now to help our town come together,” Jones said. “I appreciate, more than you know, everyone who supported us and everyone who came out to vote. My goal is to do a good job for Ridgeway. And if I don’t, tell me.”

Debby Stidham, Director of Voter Registration said the canvas and certification of the votes will take place at the voter registration office at 10 a.m. Friday.