PORTSMOUTH – Andy Cole won the Third Ward Council race on Tuesday night, beating fellow challenger Gary Jenkins by a tally of 383 to 250 votes.
Cole, the General Manager at Premier Kites in Portsmouth, said he had a lot of respect of Jenkins. Jenkins was just 18 years old when he announced his candidacy.
“My opponent ran a good race,” said Cole. “He worked hard. I have respect for that. He had a different agenda than I did but we had some commonality such as infrastructure and economic development. In the end, I got more votes. But, he ran a good race.”
Jenkins congratulated Cole on the win in an exclusive statement to the Portsmouth Daily Times.
“I want to congratulate Andy Cole on becoming the next 3rd Ward Councilman,” wrote Jenkins in the statement. “I wish him the best and hope to see him accomplish great things for our City. While I came up short, I am happy that I made the decision to run. Despite our problems, Portsmouth is a great place to live and raise a family. I look forward to continuing to stay involved and improving our community the future.”
Cole also recognized the service of incumbent Third Ward Councilman and Mayor Kevin E. Johnson.
“I’ve watched Kevin make decisions that people supported – and some they didn’t. When it came down to it I always believed Kevin had the greatest of intentions for our City. Everything he did came out of love for Portsmouth. I have a lot of respect for him and appreciate his service.”
The Councilman-elect also thanked the voters for believing in him.
“I want to tell the voters of Portsmouth thank you for believing in me. I love Portsmouth. It’s an honor they put their faith in me. All of us have differing opinions. We will never agree on everything. But, we can come together as a community and move forward to get things done. The ball is already rolling – let’s make sure it continues going forward.”
Cole will take his seat at the start of the year.
“I’m excited to get started,” said Cole. “This has been a lot of work. And I have a lot of ideas. Tonight was an affirmation that the voters believe in those ideas…The future in Portsmouth is exciting. We have a great opportunity to do great things. But I can only do that with the support of the community behind me. People need to be heard and they need to be involved. We cannot rely on just six councilpersons to make all the decisions.”
“When we do things together, there is real potential. We’ve seen that. Now, it’s time to make sure all are hard work keeps going further.”