Write-ins successful in Ivor election

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It isn’t often that multiple write-in candidates end up being successfully elected to public office but such was the case in Ivor last Tuesday.

With nobody on the ballot for mayor and only four candidates running for a total of six available positions on Town Council, Tara B. Kea was able to claim the mayor’s seat with 31 write-in votes. Her husband’s cousin, Paul S. Kea Jr., was also elected to council via 31 write-in votes, as was Joshua O. True with 21 write-ins.

All three write-ins will be first-timers when it comes to holding an elected government office. However, both Keas come from a long line of local public servants.

“My mother-in-law served on Town Council for over 15 years; my grandfather-in-law was mayor for 20 years, so that was my primary reason for being willing to tackle this,” Tara Kea said. “I didn’t feel we could go without a mayor based on the number of years this family has dedicated to this town.”

Her mother-in-law, Lynne Kea, passed away about five years ago, and her grandfather-in-law, Peyton Kea, passed in September 2017.

“Both of them were huge advocates of supporting the town and being members of various organizations,” Tara Kea said. “I didn’t feel I could look at my children and say that I couldn’t do this, so I’m going to try.”

Kea’s campaign for mayor, if one could call it that, began one day before the election. Several people came to her on Monday night and asked if she would accept the position if they wrote her in for mayor, and after considering the matter, she said yes.

“There was no campaign on my part,” she said. “It’s my understanding they made a bunch of phone calls afterward, but I didn’t.”

Still adjusting to her unexpected win, Kea plans to meet with the other members of council later this week to acclimate herself to serving on council and to develop a plan for what she would like to see the town accomplish.

Outside of her elected capacity, Kea is a stay-at-home mother of two, serves as president of Ivor Youth Baseball and serves on the board for the Southampton-Sussex Baseball League.

Joshua True, who has lived in Ivor since August 2017, said his write-in campaign began several months ago after he was approached about the possibility of running for council.

“I kind of had it in the back of my mind when I noticed there were only four candidates on the ballot,” True said. “That’s when I decided to step up and serve my community.

“I would like to see us grow as well as work toward programs for our youth. I would ask that all the community work together. I definitely will need everyone’s assistance.”

Outside of his elected capacity, True is a truck driver with C.R. England.

Of the four members of council who met the filing deadline to appear on the ballot, only one, Bobby L. Crumpler, was incumbent. The other three, Judith D. Radford, Timothy S. Suhr and Marcus Wayne Zimmerman, are, like the write-ins, new to council. Crumpler received 29 votes, Radford received 29, Suhr received 37 and Zimmerman received 36.

Radford, who is retired and a lifelong resident of Ivor, said she chose to run for council because she felt that things had not been going as well as they could for the town. She described the town as having become a “bedroom community,” meaning that people live there but go elsewhere to work, and said that she hopes to see the town prosper.

“I welcome anyone in the town to contact me for me to learn about their concerns,” she said.

Suhr, a retired Navy senior chief, said he chose to run because he loves Ivor and has always wanted to serve the town government. He has lived in the town for 11 years.

“I hope to make things better for the town, we don’t have a whole lot going on there,” he said.

By press time, Paul Kea and Zimmerman could not be reached for comments.

The newly elected council members will take office on July 1.