ASHLAND The leading candidates for Ashland city commission are Marty Gute, Cheryl Spriggs, Amanda Clark and Josh Blanton as of Tuesday at press time.

There were nine candidates on the ballot on Tuesday, but only eight will move forward to the general election.

Gute received 642 votes (unofficially) as of Tuesday.

“I feel good about it (the results),” said Gute. “I think the people realize that we try to do the best on behalf of everyone and experience does matter. Transparency matters and we are trying to work together as a team. My priorities are service to the citizens, economic development and our employees.”

Gute is a second-generation city commissioner and has served the city for six terms. Gute said if re-elected he would focus on the services the city provides, the atmosphere to promote business development and a good work environment for employees. Gute first decided to run for city commission after seeing his dad in the role.

Spriggs received 579 votes as of Tuesday.

“I’m really gratified people (know) how hard I worked before and how I will work for them in the future,” said Spriggs. “I’m ready to get to work.”

Spriggs is a former city commissioner and is running for a potential fourth term. She was elected for the first time in 2008 and was the fifth woman to serve as a city commissioner. If elected, Spriggs will focus on downtown revitalization and the needs of the citizens.

Spriggs is a former downtown business owner and has served on several boards in the area. She serves on the Ashland In Motion board and the American Electric Power Community Board. She is a Regent of the Poage chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution. Spriggs is the fifth woman to be the governor of Rotary and loves to encourage women to push themselves and fill important roles within the community.

“I want to thank people for believing in me and believing in me being their voice on city commissioner,” said Spriggs.

Clark received 559 votes as of Tuesday.

Clark was first elected in 2014. She ran for office because she wanted to be a voice for her generation. She plans to focus on quality-of-life issues while tackling infrastructure problems. If re-elected, Clark will serve her fourth term.

“I’m really pleased with the results,” said Clark. “Being in the top four in the primary is the great thing. There is a lot of time between now and the November election.

“The whole primary election season has been so odd. It didn’t feel right to campaign heavily,” she said. “People are trying to survive and a campaign isn’t on the top of anyone’s mind. I’m excited to campaign to November and stay in the top four.”

Clark also said the next term is going to be significant with being fiscally responsible because of the impacts of COVID-19.

Blanton received 555 votes as of Tuesday.

“It’s an honor to get citizens’ votes,” said Blanton. “It’s very encouraging and it’s awesome to see I’m resonating with citizens and that’s what I hope. This is a first step and there is a lot of work to do between now and November.”

Blanton, 37, has never run for public office but is an active member of the community, contributing to groups such as Build Ashland, Young Professionals Association, Destination Ashland and more. Blanton believes whoever takes on the position of city commissioner should be prepared and understand how the city works. He wants to focus on infrastructure and communication if elected.

The other four candidates in the fifth through eighth spots, based on unofficial numbers, were Becky Miller (530 votes), Pat Steen (375 votes), Randy Memmer (336 votes) and Frank Fitzpatrick (320 votes).

Gerald Thompson is the candidate with the fewest unofficial votes, coming in at 288 as of Tuesday.

The primary election results will not be official until a projected date of June 30.

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