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Another GOP voice to join City Council

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A victorious Mike Guffey receives congratulations from State Rep. Tom Saunders at Republican Headquarters Tuesday after he defeated Democrat Glenn Ryan in the Ward 1 City Council race.
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Sheila Boles (l), sister of Mike Guffey (c) joins Guffey’s daughter, Candy (r) in a group hug following his victory in the Ward 1 City Council race Tuesday night.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Mike Guffey remembers when, as a kid growing up, he and Lynn Perdue were neighbors. Tuesday night, they became neighbors of sorts again. Come January, they will be sitting across from each other on the New Castle City Council.

Guffey, a Republican, won the Ward 1 Council seat Tuesday night over first-time Democrat candidate Glenn Ryan. It was a municipal election where voters were few, paling in comparison to candidate passions for the public service jobs they sought.

Just under 11 percent of the 7,474 registered votes participated in the election. With only 815 ballots cast, the old adage “every vote counts” was magnified. So were the emotions when the counting was over.

In Republican headquarters, the mood was jubilant. When given the news, applause rose along with Guffey’s clenched hands. They were celebratory fist bumps years in the making.

As he was embraced by sister Sheila Boles and daughter Candy Guffey, the newest city councilman was all smiles after his 84-61 victory over Ryan.

“He’s wanted this so bad,” Candy Guffey said of her dad, who lost by a mere 18 votes as an independent candidate to veteran Sandy York eight years ago.

“This is awesome,” Mike Guffey said. “I had good help and everybody pulled together. The party gave me good backing. I had good walkers and just getting out and being able to meet the constituents in my ward was an awesome experience. I’m very excited.”

Guffey will take over a seat now held by Democrat Mary Brewington, who chose not to seek re-election. He will see a familiar face sitting directly across from him on the council.

“Years ago, when we were kids, Lynn (Perdue) and I were neighbors,” Guffey said. “It’s awesome to have the opportunity to serve with him on the council.”

Meanwhile, in Democrat headquarters at the UAW Hall, a few tears were evident from Ryan who wanted the job just as much.

“It was my first time ever to run,” said Ryan as his wife, Sandra was by his side. “I learned a whole lot. I’m real happy I came this close with it being my first time running.”

From a political standpoint, Guffey’s victory puts a second Republican on a council that is typically dominated by local Democrats. But nobody seemed to be counting R’s and D’s in either headquarters.

Incumbent City Council President Mark Koger, who was at Democrat headquarters in support of Ryan, put it best when he said “We’re truly not politicians. We’re your neighbors. We try to help get things done when people need things done.”

A 23-year veteran factory worker at INTAT in Rushville, the victorious Guffey is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work for the town that he’s always called home.

“I’ve lived in New Castle all my life and I want to see it thrive,” Guffey said. “I’ve got four kids who have lived here all their lives. This is a good place to live.

“I want the citizens of my ward, the constituents, to know I want to be there for them,” Guffey continued. “I heard some of them have felt left out in the past. There’s a lot of good things happening in the city of New Castle but I believe there are a lot more good things that can happen and I want to work with the council to help us move forward.”