Investigative Peace Web Story
By: Will Benner
On March 10th, Bronson held an election for the vacant City Council seat two where there were two eligible candidates running. Katie Parks Bogart and Jerry L. Mongo squared off against one another but nothing could prepare both candidates for what was coming next. After a machine recount on Wednesday March 11th, the election was deemed a tie. Each member received 77 votes a piece which meant there would be a special runoff election.
That election was held on Tuesday March 24th where there was a better voter turnout. The special election turned out a ten percent increase from the first election and that is believed to have made the difference. The victor, Katie Parks Bogart received 123 votes whereas her competitor, Mr. Mongo received 101. “My whole campaign was based solely on going to people’s houses and knocking on their door and talking to them. Some people may think it’s a little old fashioned but that is what I felt most comfortable doing”, says Bogart on why she believed she won.
Getting it down to Bogart and Mongo wasn’t smooth sailing though. There were originally six people interested in the vacated seat two, one of which was Bronson postal worker Mary Tracey. “Six of us went to one of the council meetings on a Monday night and all six of us including Katie Bogart and Jerry Mongo stood and talked about why we thought we would make a good fit for the council seat”, said Tracey. Tracey and Mongo each received two votes from the council members, and when they voted again none of the council members changed their minds. After that second tie, Tracey decided to not run which left Mongo to run against Bogart.
After all these ties, a simple game of chance could’ve decided the victor. “According to the charter, if there was a tie in the runoff election then we would have had to flip a coin”, says Bronson Mayor Franklin Schuler. As a council, Schuler believes they need to go back to the drawing board to figure out a better way to decide a winner in case of a tie in the runoff election.
Bogart is excited to make a positive impact on the community. “I feel like we have some capable people on the town council, but nobody from my generation,” says Bogart.
This was a special election due to the previous council member retiring which means Bogart will have to run for re-election in September. Bogart says, “I really appreciate the people that did come out and vote. Whether they voted for me or Mr. Mongo, it doesn’t matter. They came out and voted and I appreciate that.”
Click here to view the PDF version.