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Allen ends bid for re-election

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer

Sylva town board member Danny Allen conceded his race against fellow board member Ray Lewis on Monday, settling the tie between the two candidates following the Nov. 6 election.

Allen and Lewis tied with 114 votes each and remained tied after the Jackson County Board of Elections opened two provisional ballots last week.

If Allen had not conceded the board of elections would have determined the winner by lot, Lisa Lovedahl, election director, said in a previous interview.

The concession will bring Allen’s six-year stint on town board to a close. Running for re-election was a last minute decision for Allen, 51, who is battling cancer. He did not return a phone call seeking comment about his concession.

Learning that he will return to the town board for another term was exciting news for Lewis.

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“I’m pleased with it,” the 64-year-old said of his victory. “We can work together,” he said of the newly elected board. “You have to give a little to get a little.”

But defeating fellow board member Allen was not something Lewis particularly favored.

“I just left it up to Danny. We are all real good friends,” he said.

Lewis and Allen not only have sat on town board together, they were both former Sylva police officers.

Allen became a Sylva board member in 2001. He tried to advance his career in Sylva’s politics when he ran against incumbent Mayor Brenda Oliver and lost.

Fellow town board members said they would miss Allen’s presence on the board.

“I have enjoyed working with both of them,” alderwoman Stacy Knotts said. “It’s been tough with them being tied. I am glad there is a resolution.”

“He was a good board member,” she added. “He’s done a lot for this town the years that he served.”

Lewis returns to the town board with re-elected incumbent Maurice Mooday and newcomer Sarah Graham, director of the Downtown Sylva Association. Her appointment to the board some say will bring a new light to the board.

“I am looking forward to working with everyone,” Graham, 34, said. “I have worked with all of them in the past and we are all going to do good for Sylva.”

Managing growth and focusing on building a strong downtown district might be on the agenda for this new board.

“My main concern is I’m still in favor of just supporting the whole town,” aldermen Harold Hensley said.

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