By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
A win is a win, even if it's only by two votes.
Killeen's District 3 election winner, JoAnn Purser, will take it, winning the hotly contested race by two votes over John Doranski, 243 to 241.
Purser, hugged by her husband, fellow developer Gary Purser Jr. in City Hall Saturday night, shook hands with Doranski in a cordial setting alongside a rave of clapping hands from those in attendance.
"I'm excited and the voters came out, and they did their job and elected me as their representative," Purser said. "I'm looking forward to working with the council in making sure that progress happens. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity. It really showed that every voter mattered today, and they hired me today. I hope that I do them justice."
Doranski led by three votes after early voting and nearly pulled a comeback with a strong showing late, but was unable to pull enough votes on election day.
"I appreciate my wife; I appreciate the citizens for coming out to vote," Doranski said. "I congratulate my opponents, who ran a terrific race."
Doranski, who acknowledged the narrow loss as exceedingly frustrating, has the option to ask for a recount, but said he had no intention of doing it.
"I think Paula and her staff did an excellent job, but I am pondering the at-large positions (next year) since two of them are at term," he said.
Official vote totals will be announced Tuesday.
Bernardine Martin came in third in the District 3 voting with 76 votes, while Harold Butchart finished with 46.
District 2 Councilman Juan Rivera also received a standing ovation at City Hall Saturday, retaining his seat with a 266 to 198 victory over former longtime councilman Dick Young.
"I'm very grateful for the citizens of Killeen, and looking forward to working with a citizen, and looking forward to being a better city councilman," Rivera said. "I thank the staff that was with me, especially Miguel Diaz."
Young said he knew it would be a tough race, but intends to work toward his businesses.
"I'm pleased with the outcome; he (Rivera) ran a great race. I called Juan and congratulated him," Young said. "I'm looking forward to getting back to my business. We fought hard; it was good. I enjoyed the competition."
In District 1, incumbent Kenny Wells took the most lopsided victory of the night, winning 254 to 109 over Ed Lindsay.
"I'm happy to be re-elected. I think it was a convincing win. I appreciate the voters supporting me," Wells said. "You sit up and get a lot of criticism, and begin to question yourself honestly, so it's good to have an election every now and then."
In District 4, Ernest Wilkerson, longtime former councilman, took down the only incumbent, defeating Councilman Otis Evans in convincing fashion, 346 votes to 161.
"I look forward to getting to work with the citizens of Killeen," Wilkerson said. "I'm going to try to meet with the mayor, try to get a task force together and start planning for the census. It's going to be huge for us. If the numbers are wrong, we're going to lose a lot. We've got a lot of folks overseas. That hurts us for funding."
District 4's remaining candidates, Keith Gavin and Ralph Cossey, pulled in 61 and 45 votes respectively.
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568.