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Pike chosen for Ward 3 commission seat

Christopher Pike was elected to the Ward 3 seat with 68 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Christopher Pike was elected to the Ward 3 seat with 68 percent of the vote Tuesday.

ALBANY -- Christopher Pike will be the next Albany city commissioner for Ward 3 after what could be called a landslide win over former commissioner Arthur Williams.

Unofficial totals of all six precincts and early votes has Pike with a 458-212 win.

"I am extremely excited to have come through this race with this margin of victory," Pike said during a post-election celebration. "I had hoped that people would buy in to our message and with the results tonight, it looks like they did."

Pike called his 68.3 percent win "a mandate for progress" and said he will attend Wednesday's City Commission meeting, which was postponed from election day.

Williams could not be reached for comment and messages left at the phone number given to elections officials were not returned.

Pike won four of the six precincts. Pike won the Merry Acres Middle School precinct 39-1, Covenant Church 188-4, Carver Teen Center 104-101 and Phoebe Education Center 12-6. He also led the advance voting 37-11. Williams won two precincts -- Carver Gym precinct 58-50 and Saints in Christ Church precinct 31-28.

The unofficial results indicate at least 670 people cast ballots. The ward has 5,765 registered voters.

Williams was trying to regain the commission seta he held for 22 years before Commissioner Morris Gurr unseated him in the 2005 municipal elections. Pike finished fourth in that six-man race.

Following the election, Gurr, who had previously endorsed Pike, said he was glad to see the voters make the right decision.

"I'm glad. I've been calling him my new commissioner the entire time," Gurr said. "I think the voters realized that he has the vision and determination to move the city forward and that is what we need most."

Pike will be at Wednesday's city commission meeting, which was moved from Tuesday so as to not conflict with election day, to formally greet members of the commission and introduce himself to city staff.

Although he won't officially take office until January, Pike said he plans to begin today fulfilling his campaign promises.

"Now is not the time to stop. I plan on beginning some initiatives and sharing some ideas with people in the southern part of Ward 3 to create and strengthen neighborhood watch groups there and see if we can begin to make those neighborhoods safer," he said. "I don't have to be sworn in to be an advocate for the community."

Pikes campaign was almost snuffed out when Williams challenged his qualifications for office, forcing a hearing before the elections board to determine Pikes' fitness for office.

Williams contended that, based upon witness statements and media accounts, that Pike had failed to register on time. He also said Pike failed to properly fill in his paperwork when Pike chose not to select which party he was affiliated with.

After hearing debates on both sides of the issue, the board sided with Pike on both counts and allowed the campaign to proceed.

Williams himself overcame a challenge to his qualifications when Lon McNeil said Williams reported tax debt was enough to prevent him from running.

After hearing legal opinions from both the city and county attorneys, the board voted to allow Williams to continue his campaign.