By Steven Viera ’16, News Editor
Lancaster City recently held its mayoral elections and Rick Gray, the Democratic incumbent, won re-election over Charlie Smithgall, former mayor of Lancaster City and Gray’s Republican challenger.
The election took place on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The polls closed at 8:00 p.m. and, according to the article “Election Day replay: Live coverage of the 2013 races in Lancaster County” from Lancasteronline.com, no serious problems at the polling stations were reported. F&M students registered in Lancaster County were able to vote at the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center (ASFC).
The final ballot count, according to Lancaster County’s election website, showed Gray with 57 percent of the vote — a total of 4,471 votes — to Smithgall’s 3,306, winning Gray his third consecutive term as mayor of Lancaster City and marking the second time he has defeated Smithgall at the polls for the office.
The remaining 46 votes of the total 7,823 ballots cast went to write-in candidates, according to Lancaster County’s election website.
According to the same article from lancasteronline.com, after the results were announced, Gray thanked his supporters from his campaign headquarters in downtown Lancaster, to cheers of “Four more years” from the assembled crowd. The article also noted that Smithgall did not go to Gray’s headquarters to concede the race.
Other important elections included the race for Commissioner of Manheim Township, won by Sam Mecum—the first Democrat in history elected to the position. Republican Tom Schaller won re-election to his position as Commisioner of Lancaster County and Leo Lutz, mayor of Columbia Borough, was re-elected to a third term, according to, “Election Day replay: Live coverage of the 2013 races in Lancaster County.”
The day after the election, Gray discussed initiatives he plans to put in place or continue during his third term. One of his key points was the establishment of a green infrastructure program , which will include planting trees, installing green roofs, improvements to the city’s storm-water and wastewater system, and more.
Gray also talked about the implementation of the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ), which has the potential to attract over $100 million in investment to designated areas in Lancaster City. He discussed both programs in the Lancasteronline.com article, “In his own words: Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray talks about the next four years.”
Prior to the race, both Gray and Smithgall visited the College to talk to discuss their plans for the future, allow students to ask questions, while also encouraging students to vote in the election. Gray came to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 22 in a visit sponsored by F&M’s College Democrats, and Smithgall came on Monday, Nov. 4 — the night before the election—in a visit sponsored by F&M’s College Republicans.
Gray expressed his happiness to win re-election, but also noted the difficulty of the tasks that lay before him. “You’ll never be done with the job of mayor,” he said, as quoted in “In his own words: Lancaster Mayor Rick gray talks about the next four years.
Sophomore Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is email@example.com.