Heath, Boda, Ireton all win; Jackson holds big lead on Shields

Salisbury voters were part of a lot of history on Tuesday.

For the first time, they elected council members in tightly configured districts intended to both reflect racial population changes and ensure representation for neighborhoods across the city.

Voters elected their youngest mayor in a half-century — a candidate who used his brief service as City Council president to springboard to control of the city government.

Now the city’s residents — and the county residents who also care what goes on with the city’s boundaries — will watch to see how the election changes and new dynamic shape what’s to come.

Jake Day, the lifelong resident and local boy resident who grew up on Forest Lane and seemed destined from an early age to become mayor, has been enjoying a coronation of sorts since summer. Once he made his intentions known, no one dared challenge him. Mayor Jim Ireton, who was elected to a City Council seat Tuesday, essentially changed jobs rather than challenge the popular Day.

Day, known for his mixture of self-confidence and sincerity, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that reflected his public persona.

“I can’t tell you how humbling it has been to run for mayor of my hometown and to do so unopposed. The support I have received has been incomparable and I am grateful to have friends and family and neighbors and supporters like all of you.”

And, seeking to involve non-city residents, Day added: “If you are not a Salisbury resident, I ask that you please keep our city and her leaders in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.”

Day’s ultimate post-election prediction: “Great days are ahead!”

Voters elected council members to represent two minority-majority districts. April Jackson was the leader in District 1 over incumbent Shanie Shields, but absentee ballots will have to decide the outcome.

A white man, Muir Boda, was elected to represent District 2, the newly created minority district that encompasses Salisbury’s center-city neighborhoods.

Boda, who has run for several public offices, was finally able to punch through with the help of an array of Republican political players who helped him in campaigning.

A first-ever incumbent-incumbent in-district contest was won by the man appointed to the seat just over a year ago. Jack Heath, the appointee, turned back Councilman Tim Spies’ effort to retain a council seat. In winning the District 3 seat outright, Heath fended off newcomer Kevin Lindsay, whose campaign was turning heads in the college-neighborhoods district.

Despite a landlord-led effort to cast him from government, Jim Ireton topped political newcomer Roger Mazzullo to win the District 4 seat. Ireton’s deep community ties, passion and personal experience with just about every voter in Salisbury no doubt aided his effort.

Ireton, know for having deep opinions on most any possible issue, was also seen as prepared to serve.

Winning candidates will be sworn in by Mark Bowen, clerk of the Circuit Court, at the City Council meeting Nov. 16. The Council president is paid $12,000 annually and council members earn $10,000. The mayor’s yearly salary is $25,000.

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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