Karen Ferlito - PS 1.jpg

Karen Ferlito was in first place for one of two seats on the Carmel City Council on Nov. 3, 2020.

Carmel Mayor Dave Potter got his wish on his birthday, Nov. 3. He came in first place over challenger Judy Refuerzo, with an enormous lead of 1,236 votes, or 74 percent, to Refuerzo's 433 votes at just under 26 percent.

Even if more votes come in over night there's no way for her to catch up.

The results mirror the election in 2018, when Potter beat incumbent Steve Dallas with 60 percent of the vote. Refuerzo was supported by Dallas in this election.

In the race for two city council seats, first-time candidate Karen Ferlito was in the lead on Tuesday night with 871 votes at 32.4 percent. Incumbent Bobby Richards was hanging on to his seat with 775 votes, or just under 29 percent.

Running behind were candidates Graeme Robertson with 21 percent and Mo Massoudi at 17.6 percent. 

While Refuerzo criticized Potter during the campaign for not doing enough or being visible enough during the Covid-19 pandemic, voters apparently disagreed. Potter insisted during the campaign that he had been very visible, meeting with struggling business owners and listening to needs of residents. He and the current council worked on bringing outdoor dining to the downtown to keep restaurants afloat during the pandemic. 

During the campaign, Potter won the vote of one very grateful resident who was caught in a precarious situation. A man Potter described as 80-something and driving a Prius suddenly found himself trapped in a sea of "Trump Train" supporters on Ocean Avenue.

"I could tell he was afraid so I dashed out and said, 'you can get out of this line,'" recalls Potter, who pointed a way out. "He said, 'Mayor Potter, you have my vote!'"


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