Jim Carruthers, 56, will remain the mayor of Traverse City.
He won Tuesday’s election against Shea O’Brien, 32, an employee at Burritt's Fresh Market, who had never run for office before.
“I am very proud of being involved with the city. I’ve gained the respect of the citizens,” Carruthers said. “It’s a great city that we get to live in, and we have many challenges ahead of us.”
Unofficial election results Tuesday night show he had 2,293 votes, which was twice as many votes as O’Brien's 1,162 votes as of 10 p.m.
“I give Shea credit for running,” Carruthers says. “I commend him for trying.”
Carruthers says he would like to see O’Brien run for another office in the future, and O’Brien says he just might.
“I’m really proud of the way we ran our campaign. We kept it positive and we were consistent in our messaging too, and I think that was really important as well,” O’Brien says.
Carruthers has been mayor of Traverse City since 2015 — a position that does not have term limits. He says he wants to help the city thrive as both a tourist destination and an affordable place for people to live year round.
The Traverse City Commission is made up of six commissioners and one mayor.
Carruthers won alongside city commissioners Ashlea Walter, Amy Shamroe and Roger Putman. Shamroe and Putman are incumbents and won re-election.
Also, Christie Minervini won a seat on the commission against Tom Mair.
The seat became open after former City Commissioner Michele Howard left her post in September to become the executive director of the Traverse Area District Library.
“It’s really overwhelming. It’s been a ride these last four months. I’m really proud and appreciative for all the support I’ve received,” Minervini says. “Ready to get to work.”
Ballot Proposal 1 also passed Tuesday night with 2,195 people voting “yes” and 598 voting against the proposal.
Specifically, the proposal asked voters for approval to use the Brown Bridge Trust fund money for city parks capital improvements.
The Brown Bridge Trust Fund may only be used if approved by voters. It does not raise taxes but instead allows the “city commission five years to place that part of the Brown Bridge Trust Fund principal that exceeds $12 million in a separate trust fund to be used for city park capital improvements and/or acquisition of property to be designated and used as city parkland,” states the proposal.
IPR will update this story when the final results are posted.