Lester, Hytopoulos and Scales leading in early results

The first batch of election results show Debbi Lester, Kirsten Hytopoulos and Bob Scales leading in the three City Council races.

North Ward
Scales: 51.13 percent
Vancil: 48.17 percent

Central Ward
Lester: 53.33 percent
DuMont: 46.17 percent

South Ward
Hytopoulos: 50.47
Jacobsen: 49.02

Read the candidates’ election night comments in my story below….

The three Bainbridge City Council races appeared to have produced an upset, a definitive win and a squeaker that was too close to call on Tuesday night.

Early election returns showed Central Ward candidate Debbi Lester coasting to victory, South Ward candidates Kirsten Hytopoulos and Tim Jacobsen separated by just 91 votes, and former councilman Bob Scales poised to unseat incumbent Debbie Vancil in the North Ward.

“I’m pretty excited,” Lester said shortly after the results were posted. “I think (voters) are focusing on people who actually get results and I think my campaign has shown that.”

Of the six candidates running for the three open council seats, Lester was leading by the widest margin. She had over 53 percent to opponent Dee DuMont’s 46 percent.

Lester, who publishes an arts magazine, put her community service at the forefront of her campaign.

“In my advocacy work with the ferries and creating community gardens…I’ve come with community solutions to the problems we’ve had,” she said.

DuMont, a Winslow-based seamstress who ran on a platform of fiscal restraint and government fairness, conceded defeat in an e-mail shortly after results were released.

“Although I did not prevail, I thank each and every one of my supporters,” she said. “I am humbled by the many positive letters and comments that were presented on my behalf, and by the financial and emotional support that I was offered during the campaign.”

Vancil, who had hoped for a fourth term, was stunned by the 51 percent lead Scales took over her 48 percent share.

“I’m surprised the North Ward is so close,” Vancil said. “There’s a big difference between us. Bob’s presented himself as angry. Maybe the voters are responding to that. Maybe the electorate is angrier than I thought.”

Scales said the difference between himself and Vancil was more style than substance.

“There were no major issues we disagreed on,” he said. “It’s more about style. I have a more direct and straightforward approach. Debbie’s more into process and discussing things and waiting.”

Scales also ran for mayor last year but had to abandon his campaign after islanders voted to do away with the elected mayor position.

He wasn’t quite ready to celebrate on Tuesday.

“I’m pleased to be in the lead, but I’m certainly not going to declare victory yet,” he said.

The South Ward race was tilted slightly for Hytopoulos. The attorney and stay-at-home mother was leading with almost 50.5 percent to Jacobsen’s 49 percent.

Hytopoulos, who could not be reached on election night, was the fundraising leader in all three races, pulling in $10,380. Jacobsen raised about $7,110.

Preserving the island’s quality of life was the focus of Hytopoulos’ campaign and her recent community activism. Jacobsen said his experience as an accountant and collaborative approach to community service would help fix the city’s financial problems and mend divisions on the council.

Jacobsen admitted Hytopoulos has the upper-hand for now.

“I knew it’d be close, but I hoped it’d be close the other way around,” Jacobsen said. “But it’s a long way from over.”