These were not the numbers either candidate expected.
Voters didn’t make Amherst’s mayoral race in any way close Tuesday, selecting Republican Mark Costilow by a 22.6 percent margin over Democrat David Kukucka to lead the city in the next four years.
“I’m honored that the people of Amherst thought that much of me to select as mayor,” said a nearly out-of-breath Costilow just moments after the unofficial vote totals were posted by the Lorain County elections board. “I’m looking so forward to working for the people. I will know who I’m working for.”
While he felt confident of victory in the past week, he didn’t expect the numbers to tip so far in his favor.
Of the 4,187 who cast ballots in the race, 2,565 (61.3 percent) voted for Costilow and 1,622 (38.7 percent) voted for Kukucka.
Name recognition as owner of the Amherst Cinema and the strength of his message during door-to-door canvassing made the difference, Costilow said.
“People know me. I think they know my work ethic. They know I’m a people person,” the mayor-elect said before stopping to praise Kukucka’s efforts on the campaign trail.
Kukucka will serve two more years as auditor of Amherst.
“I really feel that I have a great influence on the city as the auditor, knowing the books as well as I do. At least now I can continue to be the keeper of the funds,” he said.
There’s been no bad blood with Costilow during the race, but he did lament a wall of separation that grew between them. Kukucka said he hopes that lack of communication mends now that the campaign is over.
He too was taken aback by the split in numbers Tuesday at the polls, thinking the final ballot count would be much closer.
“Obviously people want to keep Amhers the small town that it is, and that’s what he ran on,” Kukucka said.
Now Costilow’s eyes are turning toward January, when he’ll give up his post as safety-service director and be sworn in to succeed his mentor, mayor David Taylor.
Choosing a new appointee to the safety-service post will be a difficult task, he said.
While several people have asked about the job, no decision has been made.
“That’s a tough one for me because I’ve done the job and know what needs to be done. I want someone who’s going to do a great job,” Costilow said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.