The Pendleton City Council hit a milestone Tuesday night. Retired auditor Carole Innes defeated Councilor Chuck LeValle in the Ward 1 election, taking 53.2 percent to LeValle’s 33 percent. Musician David Chorazy came in a distant third.
Not including the mayor, the council will have gender parity — four men and four women — when Innes and Ward 3 candidate Linda Neuman are sworn in next year.
Neuman and Ward 2 Councilor McKennon McDonald ran unopposed.
Innes said she was excited with the results and will continue to do “homework” needed to prepare for the position.
She added that she was disappointed with the number of Ward 1 residents who voted — early results show only 610 people cast a vote in that race — and she would continue to walk the district after the campaign to encourage citizen participation.
Innes is the first challenger to unseat a sitting councilor since 2010, although LeValle only had two months of incumbency after being appointed to fill the remainder of the late John Brenne’s term.
Despite the loss, LeValle said he was still optimistic, recalling a conversation he had with his wife before Election Day about how he would react to the results.
Had he won, Levalle told his wife: “I’m going to make them happy that they chose the right person.” And if he lost: “I’m going to make them wish they had.”
With less than seven months left in his term, LeValle said his focus will be to make as much impact as possible before the year ends.
He also doesn’t plan on staying out of city politics for long, declaring his interest in running for the Ward 1 seat again when it opens up for election in 2020.
Already the first black person to sit on the council, LeValle would have been the first African American elected to the council if he had won the race.
In the other contested race, Councilor Jake Cambier easily fended off a challenge from Rex Morehouse, taking home 64.2 percent.
Cambier said he had stayed in contact with the frequent council critic throughout the race and had come to respect Morehouse’s following and the time he puts into attending public meetings.
“He and I became buddies because of it,” Cambier said.