Council: 'Pops' Barnes beats Zeph Baker in District 1

ajjohnson@ledger-enquirer.comMay 19, 2014 

When early votes were finally counted around midnight Tuesday, City Councilman Jerry "Pops" Barnes wrapped up a commanding lead over Zeph Baker, with almost 60 percent of the votes.

Barnes, 70, is a two-term incumbent first elected to the position in 2006 when he defeated long-time incumbent Nathan Suber. He secured 2,177 votes to Baker's 1,450 — or 59.92 percent to Baker's 39.91 percent.

Provisional ballots will be counted later this week.

"I'm very appreciative to the citizens of District 1 for having the confidence in me to elect me to office again," Barnes said, while celebrating with a small group of relatives and friends at his campaign headquarters on Buena Vista Road. "It lets me know that I'm in line with what the citizens wanted me to do."

Barnes said he would spend the next four years improving the quality of life for residents in the district, pushing for centers for both seniors and youths, and addressing the needs of his constituents.

"I told the citizens in District 1 initially when I ran that I would listen to them. I would always put them first and I will always be accessible and available to them," he said. "And I consistently did that by walking the streets of my district every day, interfacing with them, listening to them, caring what their concerns are, not the concerns of Pops Barnes."

Baker, 37, lost against Mayor Teresa Tomlinson in 2010 when she was first elected to office. He also ran unsuccessfully against long-time State Rep. Calvin Smyre in 2008.

Earlier this year, Baker was a declared candidate for mayor, but changed his mind and jumped into the District 1 race to the surprise of many in the community. On Tuesday, he had representatives at every polling station in the district, waving signs with his name. He couldn't be reached Tuesday night for comment.

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