Independence voters returned incumbent Karen DeLuccie to one of the City Council at-large seats Tuesday and chose first-time candidate Mike Huff ahead of write-in Matt Medley, who had joined the race right after the filing deadline for candidates on the ballot.
According to unofficial results from the Jackson County Election Board, DeLuccie finished with 6,450 votes, while Huff squeaked by the write-in votes, 3,430-3,248. Brice Stewart finished with 2,758 votes. Medley had been the lone write-in candidate on file with the Election Board, though final write-in results were not available Tuesday night.
Huff retired last year after 34 years with Independence Power & Light, where he rose to become one of the top managers. In the past couple weeks he had faced questions regarding financial misgivings – chiefly his 2010 bankruptcy filing and two years of back taxes in partially in his name that were paid after he filed to be a council candidate – and then police reports from several years back that alleged assaults on an ex-wife and a neighbor and threats against another ex-wife and police.
Huff said he had recovered from bankruptcy and that the back taxes were paid by his son, the principal owner of those properties. The domestic abuse allegation “lacked credibility,” he said, and the other allegations had been taken out of context in a smear campaign attempt by his opponents.
“First, I want to thank my family, my lovely wife, my campaign people that froze their butts off and the citizens of Independence. Even if they didn’t vote for me, I’m still there for them,” said Huff, who emphasized public safety and making the city more business-attractive during his campaign. “I just want to make this a better place to live, work with the others on the council and be a team player.”
DeLuccie, a longtime local attorney, had run unsuccessfully for the City Council in 2004 but won in 2014 after serving on the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“Of course, very appreciative of those that worked hard for me and voted for me, and if they didn’t that doesn’t mean I won’t work hard for them,” DeLuccie said.
The council member said she is mostly concerned about finances in the upcoming term – the defeat of the use tax notwithstanding.
“We have to take a very critical look about how we spend our money, just like a family does,” DeLuccie said. “Beyond that, I’m always going to tackle blight – we have to make this an attractive place to raise a family – and what can we do to bring businesses here? Those things, as always.”
Medley is a former auto plant worker and manager who co-owns a brewery planned for the Square. He had received a big push from the Citizens for Effective Leadership political action committee.
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir was unopposed on the ballot as she ran for a second term. Of the 8,730 votes cast, she received 89.55 percent of the votes. Former council member Lucy Young had been the lone write-in candidate on file with the Elections Board.