STEUBENVILLE - Incumbent Mayor Domenick Mucci survived a strong campaign mounted by Republican Lou Arrico Tuesday to win a sixth consecutive term.
Mucci finished with 1,411 votes while Arrico garnered 1,250 votes, according to unofficial results from the Jefferson County Board of Elections. Write-in candidate Dawud Abdulla received 126 votes in the citywide race.
"I expected a challenge in this campaign. It is no secret to a lot of people in the community that I have been holding down a lot of positions. I didn't have adequate time to properly campaign this year. But I am very grateful for the support shown to me from my supporters and residents," Mucci said late Tuesday night.
Mucci also has been serving as acting city manager since May and is the director of the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission.
"We have a ways to go in the city. I am prepared to continue working on implementing the city's new comprehensive plan," the veteran Democrat added.
"I also look forward to working with the new city manager when that person is chosen and hired by City Council," Mucci said.
The 57-year-old Mucci has served as mayor of Steubenville since 1993.
Arrico challenged Mucci for the mayor's job in a 2009 election that saw Mucci win re-election by a nearly 2-1 margin.
That wasn't the case this year after the 29-year-old Arrico organized a campaign that included social media in addition to grassroots campaigning.
"Under the city charter form of government the mayor usually performs ceremonial duties such as presiding over meetings, greeting visitors and conducting weddings. But I have done much more as mayor, including serving as acting city manger on four different occasions. I have always given 110 percent to the city," said Mucci.
"This tenure as acting city manager is probably the most challenging time I have ever faced. When I became acting city manager in May the city was facing a deficit for 2013 and a $1.5 million projected deficit in 2014. Through ongoing conversations and a consensus with our three city unions we have erased the deficit for this year and have reduced the projected 2014 deficit to a little over $600,000. And I am continuing to work hard with our finance department, our department heads and our city employees to balance next year's budget. The projections are looking good at this point," Mucci remarked during a pre-election campaign interview.
"As the acting city manager I have also assumed the duties of recreation director in order to save money. And if we continue our cost savings efforts we will balance our 2014 budget. Our finance director is currently on maternity leave, so I have been overseeing the finance office as part of my acting city manager duties," Mucci cited.
"I believe my experience is crucial for the city. City Council is in the process of searching for a new city manager. If they hire a new manager by mid-November, the new person will be assuming his or her duties by late November and they will need someone to help guide them as they get to know the community. Sometimes change is good but this time we need change with real experience. My knowledge of local government and my contacts with state and federal officials has helped us in the past and will continue to benefit the city. Change may be good, but history is also important when deciding on leadership in the city," said Mucci.
"My goals are to continue building consensus in the city, the safety in our community and the economic opportunities we have in Steubenville. As Jefferson County Regional Planning director I have worked hard to identify brownfield sites that are available for development. I also believe we need to explore sharing services with other communities and the county as the population numbers drops. I still believe we will have opportunities in the oil and gas industry," Mucci stated.
Jefferson County Board of Elections Chairman Rick Desman said the off-year elections had no problems.
"Everything went very smoothly. It took a little longer because of the write-in candidate votes had to be counted, but all in all this was a good election. We had a 30.57 percent turnout across the county and that is just about what we expected," Desman said.