Harker Heights voters Saturday chose political newcomer Michael Blomquist as the new city councilman for Place 2.
Unofficial totals released Saturday night showed Blomquist finished with 999 votes or 69.1 percent to Orlando’s 447 votes, or 30.9 percent.
Blomquist succeeds Councilman Steve Carpenter, who served as the Heights city manager for 19 years before being elected to council in 2015. Carpenter decided not to seek re-election to another three-year term.
City Councilwoman Jody Nicholas also won re-election Saturday, receiving 1,209 votes. She was unopposed for her Place 5 seat.
Blomquist received 748 votes during the early-voting period and 251 on Election Day. Orlando garnered 342 votes during early voting and 105 on Saturday.
Blomquist, 50, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said the election was a eye-opening experience, since he hadn’t campaigned for office before.
He credited “a great ground game and great people supporting me” for his election success.
“I went door-to-door almost ever day,” Blomquist said. “Walking around meeting as many people as I could really paid off.
“So many people told me I was the reason they came to vote, because I came to their door to meet them and talk to them.”
Orlando, 54, a local restaurant owner, credited Blomquist for running a good campaign.
“The great citizens of Harker Heights have spoken,” he said. “Michael ran a strong race.”
“I hope to continue to do volunteer work for the city and do what I can to make this a great place to city in which to live.
“When you boil it all down, we both want what’s best for the city.
“I think Michael will be do a good job.”
Blomquist said he doesn’t want to make any big changes once he’s on the council. He just wants to see if he can help it run better.
“I want to take a look at where the city is going, what is its vision” he said. “I want to look at infrastructure and improvements for older parts of Heights and make sure the city isn’t forgetting about people already here paying taxes.
“Smart growth is important. I want to make Harker Heights more of a destination city, where people come to shop, dine have a great time. That’s a win-win for everyone.
“I also want to make sure we have adequate police and fire protection for our growing city — better protection, quicker response times.”
The votes will be canvassed May 15, with the candidates to be sworn into office later that day.