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2:05 AM Wed, Nov. 14th

Winners!<BR>Blair, Suttles win council seats in primary election<BR>

"I think they felt like I did – that this council was spending too much," Suttles said.

In her coming term, Suttles said she hopes the city "can start to get back to the basics."

Basically, she said, she was happy about the support she received from voters. "You can't wipe the smile off my face," she said after the results were in.

Blair also voiced satisfaction at the results. "I think it's great that Mary Ann did so well," he said. "There needs to be a woman's presence on the council."

And he attributes his success in the primary to the work he has done as a councilman. "I think the people understand what goes on in this community," Blair said. "I pay attention, and I do my homework."

Lamerson, after hearing the final numbers Tuesday night, said he would now gear up for the general election. And he pointed to some clear differences between him and Behnke.

"Number 1 – I'm still in the work force, and I'm still raising a kid, and I own a business," Lamerson said. "That separates us immensely. I think I reflect more the views of the people who are working."

Of the primary results, Lamerson said, "I'm comfortable with my showing."

He attributed his third-place finish to "the fact that I don't waffle on my positions, or on the things I see as basic services."

Other candidates were less certain about what voters were looking for this year, however.

Behnke, for instance, pointed out that although "the people have spoken," he said he was uncertain about what the deciding factors were. "The voters are obviously not satisfied with the present council," Behnke said, as he left the county administration building. "I have no idea why."

This morning, however, Behnke stressed that he too plans to begin preparing for the runoff campaign. "I'm not out of the election; it's not over with," Behnke said. "My track record speaks for itself, and I'm running on a well-rounded background. I intend to win the election."

Nidess also was uncertain about the deciding issues in the primary. "I'm disappointed," Nidess said after reading through the results. "To be honest, I really don't know what made the difference. My feeling is that voters just weren't paying attention."

Luzius declined to comment on the primary results.

In this second all-mail city primary, 10,858 voters returned their ballots, for about 56 percent of registered voters in the city.

That falls short of the 67 percent of voters who cast ballots in the 2001 primary, but it is still higher than the 30 to 40 percent turnout that the city regularly had in its elections at polling places.