Wacker, new Council members sworn in

The Sherman City Council made the results of last week’s municipal election official and watched as new Mayor Cary Wacker and Council members Ryan Johnson and Jason Sofey received the oath of office during a special meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

As is required by Texas Election Code, the City Council canvassed the votes from the recent election by precinct before declaring the results official. The precinct tally sheets showed that 54.36 percent — 11,201 of 20,607 — of registered voters in the city cast ballots for last Tuesday’s election. Of those voters, 7,817 voted in the mayoral race, a number which was up considerably from the 4,193 voters who cast a ballot for mayor in the 2005 race that went to Sherman’s outgoing mayor, Bill Magers.

“We had almost 8,000 votes for this mayoral race,” Magers said. “One of the things that this Council hoped to do when we moved our election day from May to November was to increase voter turnout. In our first contested race in a November election, we’ve taken a vote tally of under 5,000 and moved to nearly 8,000. So that’s a heck of an improvement on the number of votes.”

Magers also noted that the number of city residents opting for early voting — 7,406 — almost doubled the number who voted on election day — 3,795.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an election where the election day vote was 50 percent of the early vote,” Magers said. “I’m not sure what that means moving forward, but that’s a pretty interesting statistic. Anyway, the experiment is now official. We’ve had our first mayoral race in November and I would say overall the results are what this Council planned. So congratulations for the final time.”

While the mayor’s race was ultimately decided by just 169 votes, Steele actually came out ahead in six of the 10 precincts the city used for the election, but by fewer than 50 votes in each of them. Wacker’s two biggest wins came in precinct 101 — by 172 votes — and precinct 102 — by 94 votes. Johnson received nearly twice as many votes as his opponent, Steve Jonse, and won all 10 precincts in the city. Sofey ran unopposed.

After the results were approved, City Clerk Linda Ashby gave the oath of office to Wacker and the new members of the Council. Johnson and Sofey are taking over the at-large, place 1 and place 2 seats vacated by Willie Steele and Wacker when they each opted to run for mayor.

Following the oath, the three officials were each presented with certificates of election and Wacker took her new place at the center of the dais.

“Thanks everyone for coming today and celebrating with us as we seat this new council,” Wacker said. “I’m really looking forward to what this team will be doing for the next three years. I’m looking forward to working with the city staff and with the community, but I think my only official act today is to call for a motion of adjournment.”