WAVERLY — It wasn’t much of a contest this time.
Dean Soash, who secured a runoff election with just a write-in campaign against Waverly’s incumbent mayor, was handily elected as the city’s next mayor Tuesday.
With nearly 62 percent of the vote, he defeated Mayor Charles Infelt, who managed just 888 votes to Soash’s 1,446.
“I don’t know if I was expecting it — you hope, because we didn’t go into this thing early on to lose — but the vote tonight was just unbelievable,” Soash said as he and his supporters celebrated Tuesday night at The Pourhouse in Waverly. “Tonight was tremendous. The apprehension is gone about how the vote was going to come out.”
Soash won outright in all of Waverly’s five wards, as well as the absentee ballot total. He garnered more than 70 percent of the votes in Ward 3.
Soash, 80, is a semi-retired electrician who spent 18 years on the city’s planning and zoning committee. He told The Courier previously he hadn’t filed papers to be in the municipal election in time because he was awaiting his wife’s approval.
WAVERLY — The biggest hurdle for mayoral hopeful Dean Soash is getting people to remember how to spell his name on the ballot.
That write-in candidacy may have hurt him slightly in the municipal election in November, where he received 994 votes to Infelt’s 1,010.
Soash said both he and Infelt ran “aggressive” campaigns with very different messages. But he didn’t have a bad word to say about his rival.
“Chuck ran a good campaign,” he said. “We’ve been friends for quite some time and we’ll continue to be friends. I’ll lean on him for some mentoring. He has a big chair to fill.”
Soash said previously he wanted to find ways to lower the city’s taxes and utility rates, which he maintains are too high. He also would prefer the council replace the historic green bridge with a vehicle option instead of a pedestrian one.
But first, he said, he needed to begin stitching the council back together.
“The community has been very divided because of the divisiveness of the present council,” Soash said. “My top priority is trying to, first of all, meet with city staff and try and get a meeting with council people and try to blend eight personalities — one of them being mine.”
Soash noted a second election meant he’s lost a month’s time getting to work on next year’s budget. Despite being up against the clock, however, he noted he wants to take things slow so he won’t make mistakes.
He also said he was overwhelmed by the support both inside and outside of Waverly.
“I’m so used to doing a lot of things on my own terms and own time, and so everything else that happens is an absolute bonus,” Soash said. “There’s no way that I can thank everyone enough for everything that’s happened.”