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Cleary wins big; will stay mayor

Ironton voters decided Tuesday that Mayor Bob Cleary will return for his first full term in January.

Wednesday, November 03, 1999

Ironton voters decided Tuesday that Mayor Bob Cleary will return for his first full term in January.

As the first precinct results were returned, low voter turnout predicted a close race. But as more returns were counted, Cleary continued to claim precinct after precinct, giving him a strong finish of 2,073 votes to Black’s 1,386.

Grabbing nearly 60 percent of the total votes gave Cleary the clear lead with about 70 percent of precincts returned. The mayor, who filled former mayor Bill Sheridan’s term when Sheridan stepped down two years ago, said he is relieved and ready to keep working.

"I’m really excited about the opportunity to continue being a public servant," Cleary said after hearing confirmation of his victory at the Lawrence County Courthouse Tuesday evening. "There are several projects we’ve begun in the last two years that I’m thrilled to have the chance to continue working on, such as the fire station, the Empowerment Zone and the paving project."

In the early hours of the election, Cleary pulled ahead with just 10 total precincts reporting, giving him a 133-vote early advantage.

"It was a close race, and I am glad to be able to put the election behind me and get back into the office without having that concern as well," he said. "It’s been difficult balancing everything. Being a full-time mayor and putting the concerns of the city and the residents first and then trying to find enough time to keep up an active campaign has been a challenge."

Now that his office is guaranteed for four years, Cleary said he will continue to work hard for economic growth and development and will concentrate on Ironton’s future.

"I truly appreciate the decision the voters have made and I will continue to work to the best of my ability to serve the residents," he said. "I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do so."