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Arlington City Council runoffs likely

Arlington City Council incumbents Sheri Capehart and Mel LeBlanc were re-elected Saturday, but the two open, at-large Districts 6 and 7 seats will be decided by a runoff June 14.

Turnout was 5.6 percent of the 186,578 registered Arlington municipal voters.

District 6/at-large seat

District 6 candidate Robert Shepard, an attorney and former Planning and Zoning Commissioner, garnered 47.2 percent of the vote in unofficial results Saturday. But it wasn't enough for a clear win over opponent Vera McKissic, an education minister at Cornerstone Baptist Church in southeast Arlington. McKissic won 36.8 percent of the vote. The rest of the field was far behind, with political newcomers Dennis Hackler taking 6.5 percent of votes; Brian Willett, 5.5 percent; and Joseph Farah at 4.1 percent.

Shepard, 49, was the top money raiser in the contest with more than $35,000 in campaign contributions reported through early May. McKissic, 50, reported spending more than $30,000, with most of the money coming from a personal loan.

"With five candidates in the race, it's kind of impossible for it not to be a runoff," he said. "We'll gear up for the next one."

McKissic has recently been under attack by a former political consultant who sent computerized messages to more than 16,000 likely voters urging them to vote for anyone other than her. She also was targeted by an Arlington Police Association mailer that called her "confrontational."

Last night, McKissic said she expected the race to be close, adding, "We'll just huddle up and start from Ground Zero."

The winner will succeed Councilman Steve McCollum, who did not seek a fifth term.

District 7/at-large seat

The District 7 race was even closer. Former Arlington school district Trustee Michael Glaspie will face certified public accountant Jimmy Bennett, 47. Bennett, a community volunteer, had 42.9 percent of the vote while Mount Olive Baptist Church minister Glaspie had 44.8 percent.

Bennett, a first-time candidate, reported spending more than $26,000 on his campaign through early May. Glaspie, who served 17 years on the Arlington school board, reported spending more than $29,000.The youngest candidate in the race, 19-year-old Robert Martin had 12.4 percent of the vote. The winner will succeed Mayor Pro Tem Ron Wright, who did not seek a fifth term.

District 2/Southwest Arlington

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Sheri Capehart won decisively over opponent John Jenkins, with 64.3 percent of the vote to his 35.7 percent. About 6.5 percent of the registered southwest Arlington voters turned out.

Capehart, 59, said she will continue working to improve roadways and sidewalks so that children have safe routes to school and ensure quality development. This will be her fifth term representing southwest Arlington. Jenkins, 41, a Dallas parks and recreation district manager, was making a second attempt to unseat Capehart. He took 35 percent of the vote in 2006.

Through early May, Capehart reported raising $9,660 and spending $3,040 on her campaign. Jenkins reported raising $6,364 and spending $14,202.82.

District 1/North Arlington

Incumbent Mel LeBlanc, 57, ran unopposed. This will be the medical product sales representative's second, two-year term representing north Arlington.

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