DANVILLE — Two longtime incumbents, Steve Foster and Mike Puhr, will return to the Danville City Council for another four years, and they will be joined by two newcomers, R.J. Davis and Frank Hoskins.
According to unofficial vote totals Tuesday night, Davis, 76, beat Ward 3 incumbent Bill Gilbert, 37, who was vying for his third term as Danville alderman.
His wife, April Gilbert, is the other Ward 3 alderman but wasn't up for re-election this year.
Davis had 169 votes to Gilbert's 79.
At the news of his victory late Tuesday night, emotion overcame Davis, who was one of the seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit in the early 1980s that led to Danville's current form of government in which the city is divided into seven wards with two aldermen representing each ward.
"I tear up because it's very personal to me," Davis said. "I thank God. That's the first thing I want to say. Without God, I can do nothing. Without God, I would fail."
Davis said he is grateful for the opportunity, and he looks forward to working with Ward 3 Alderwoman April Gilbert. He said he had no ill feelings toward his opponent, Bill Gilbert, and he wishes him well and appreciates what he has done as an alderman.
Davis said he must thank his wife, Gladys Davis, and several others whom he sought out for advice and support, including former Mayor Bob Jones, former Alderman Lester Brown, his pastor U.D. Williams, the Rev. Frank McCullough and the Rev. H.L. Reed as well as friends and family in Chicago.
The other newcomer, Frank Hoskins, beat Darrell Heath to take the Ward 2 seat of longtime Alderwoman Lois Cooper, who decided not to run again. Hoskins had 134 votes to Heath's 121.
Puhr's race in Ward 5 was not as close. He garnered 377 votes to challenger Janis Ostiguy's 219, and in Ward 7, the margin was even wider with incumbent Foster getting 670 votes to Reynolds' 302.
Puhr, who has been serving as the council's public works chairman, will start his fourth term, but Foster is the longest continually serving alderman on the council, serving since 1992.
Other aldermen who were elected Tuesday night to another four-year term but had no opponents were Rickey Williams Jr. in Ward 1, Sharon McMahon in Ward 4 and Steven Nichols in Ward 6.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the new city council will be sworn in on May 7. He said plaques will be presented to the two outgoing aldermen, Bill Gilbert and Lois Cooper, and the new council will also elect a vice mayor.