By Sarah Chacko
Killeen Daily Herald
As precinct totals rolled in Saturday night for Killeen's City Council and mayoral elections, there was one constant and several variables.
Unofficial totals proclaimed Tim Hancock the winner in the mayor's race in nearly every precinct, while the four top candidates for City Council traded spots as ballots were counted.
In the end, Larry Cole, Billy Workman and Otis Evans secured the three at-large seats, with 875, 864, and 753 votes, respectively.
More than 1,880 votes were reported, about 4 percent of the total registered voters.
Hancock, who has served as a councilman for nearly six years, two as mayor pro tem, said he appreciated residents trusting him to be their mayor.
Hancock won with a reported total of 1,371 votes, about 74 percent of the 1,855 votes cast in the mayoral race.
Losing two of his former at-large colleagues on the council, Hancock will be presiding over a changing council dais.
Councilman Scott Cosper is stepping down because of term limits and Eddie Vale Jr. did not seek re-election.
Though all three new councilmen have run in previous years, none have sat in a council seat.
"We have to roll up our sleeves and get in there and do it," Hancock said. "They have to be ready to step up to the plate."
Both of Hancock's opponents, Tonya Horton and Randy Sammons, said they are considering running again. Horton said she plans to run in next year's district elections but Sammons said he might stay the course for the mayoral seat.
The three at-large seats changed hands precinct by precinct.
Early voting numbers had Charlie King in second and Workman trailing in fourth. With just three precincts reporting, Workman had gained ground pushing Evans from third place.
As final precinct numbers were reported, Workman had taken the second highest number of votes and Evans had also been voted back into the top three.
None of the three councilmen-elect said they felt nervous about the opportunity.
"If we put our heads together and work for the needs of the people, and not for our own interests, we can guide this community in the right direction," said Workman, a retired master sergeant and substitute teacher.
Like Hancock, Cole campaigned his experience heavily. A real estate appraiser, Cole has served on the Planning & Zoning Commission for 16 years.
Having dealt with the council numerous times, Cole said he has built a rapport with major players in the city.
"I just want to be a team player," Cole said. "The mayor and city manager have a program in place. We need to finish what we've got going."
Evans, a retired colonel and administrator in long-term care, said he plans on being a careful listener and will use common sense in making decisions. It is fortunate that there are still experienced members on the council, he said.
Drawing on their knowledge, new ideas and personal experience, "somewhere, when all those things mix together, you come out with the right thing to do," he said.
The three beat out five other candidates: Derrell Lee, King, Doris Owens, Rena Noriega and Alvin Dillard.
Hancock commended the new councilmen on their personal experiences with city and military organizations that make them assets to the city.
Aside from working together, the council should be ready to listen to city staff and residents, he said.
"We have spent our campaign talking. Citizens listened and voted for us," Hancock said. "We're not campaigning anymore."
The results of the election become final after the official canvass of election returns on May 16 or May 23; date depending on provisional ballots.
Contact Sarah Chacko at email@example.com