FAIRMONT — Mayor Charles Kemp lost his bid for a third four-year term as mayor Tuesday to a veteran member of the town’s Board of Commissioners. Voters also elect two new members of the Board of Commissioners.
Kemp, 67, was defeated by Bobby Charles Townsend, a 12-year town board member. Channing P. Cunningham, a local preacher and state Department of Public Safety employee, finished a distant third.
Unofficial results show Townsend winning with 480 — or 52.69 percent — of the 911 votes cast. Kemp received 396, or 43.47 percent of the votes, and Cunningham pulled in 35, or 3.84 percent of the votes.
Kemp served as a commissioner for 28 years before becoming mayor.
Results won’t be official until canvassing takes place on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Townsend said he was “surprised” that he was able to unseat the incumbent mayor.
“Charles Kemp is hard to beat,” he said. “This was a tough, tight race to win.”
Townsend said that he believes residents wanted new leadership.
“I think that people are ready to look at a new mindset in the mayor’s seat,” Townsend said. “… I want to thank all of the people who supported me and I’m looking forward to moving Fairmont forward.”
Kemp, who had campaigned on what he said was a record of progress in Fairmont, especially in job creation and downtown development, could not be reached Tuesday night.
Fairmont voters also elected three commissioners — Amelia “Ann” McLean, with 498 votes, Terry Evans, 458 votes, and incumbent Kim Prevatte Ammons, 377 votes.
Other candidates included: Andrew Grimsley, 359 votes, or 17.61 percent; and a write-in who received 347, or 17.02 percent, of the votes. Monte McCollum ran an organized write-in campaign, but it was unknown late Tuesday night if all of the write-in votes went to him.