By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
Political newcomer Terry Clark trounced his competition by taking 53 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the District 3 Killeen City Council seat Saturday.
Clark was victorious against incumbent JoAnn Purser and Harold Butchart, who took 24 and 23 percent of the votes cast, respectively.
Clark garnered 304 votes, while his nearest opponent, Purser, took in 138 votes. Butchart finished with 128 votes in the unofficial tally.
With three other council members - Juan Rivera, Kenny Wells and Ernest Wilkerson - unopposed for re-election, District 3 was the only seat up for election this year. About 570 people voted, with about 285 of those choosing to forgo election day and vote early.
Clark, 48, is a campus instructional technologist for the Killeen Independent School District.
He graduated in 1990 from University of Montana with a degree in Computer Science, Business Emphasis.
"I appreciate the community trusting me to become the next council member," Clark said. "I look forward to being the face of change and it's time for our community to begin to heal - and let the healing begin tonight."
Purser, 48, was seeking her second term as a council member. She is a developer and has lived in Killeen since her sixth-grade year at East Ward Elementary.
Purser, along with the other six current Killeen Council members and Mayor Tim Hancock, have been embroiled in controversy over the council's vote to buy out former City Manager Connie Green for $750,000 on March 29. A subsequent recall petition drive naming all of the city's elected officials, drew more than 10,000 signatures from Killeen voters.
"My statement tonight is I have a lingering sadness for my supporters," Purser said. "I really appreciated their votes. I appreciate the citizens of Killeen that did vote. Their vote has been heard and they do want change, and I'm really looking forward to all the positive changes that will occur."
Butchart, 63, is a disabled veteran who has run for Killeen public office four times - twice for mayor and twice for council. Butchart could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Early Saturday, multiple voters reported receiving ballots for District 3, even though they were registered in other districts.
City Attorney Kathy Davis confirmed there were 16 ballots that should not have been given out; however, such a number could not have a material effect on the outcome of the election, she said.
The results provided by the city become final after the official canvass of the election returns Tuesday or May 24.