By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — Jerry Ryan has decided not to ask for a recount of last week’s election, which cost him a seat on the City Council.
Ryan, Salem’s Ward 4 councilor since 2008, had been considering asking for a recount of the councilor-at-large ballots from Nov. 5, when he finished fifth out of the seven candidates running for four at-large spots.
Ryan came in 26 votes behind the fourth-place finisher, Councilor William Legault.
“I talked it over with my family,” Ryan said yesterday. “I’ve been through a recount, and unless there’s major issues at the polling place, which I haven’t heard, I don’t think it would change enough to make a difference. ... It’s better to accept the loss and move on.”
In the fall of 2007, Ryan was elected over Chuck Barton by 23 votes, a margin that bumped to 29 after ballots were recounted three weeks after the election. Barton had requested the recount after hearing accounts of voting machines jamming on election day.
While Ryan will concede this race, he said he may run for office again down the road. For now, he’ll continue to attend meetings and remain active in the city while being able to spend more time with family.
“I just want to thank the people who supported my candidacies,” Ryan said. “It’s been a productive six years, and I hope to continue my role in making the city of Salem a better place — it just won’t be from the City Council.”
The Ward 6 council race was even closer than the at-large race: Newcomer Beth Gerard beat incumbent Paul Prevey by just 16 votes.
Prevey has not returned any phone calls from The Salem News since the election, so it is not known whether he plans to seek a recount. Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Friday to request a recount of any race on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Councilor William Legault praised Ryan in a Facebook message yesterday.
“Kudos and many thanks to City Council President Jerry Ryan for his dedicated service to Salem over the last six years,” Legault wrote. “Many people talk a good political game here in Salem. Opinions are many, disagreements abound, and numerous slings and arrows are both deservedly or unjustly directed at those who choose to enter the arena of municipal politics.
“Jerry is one of the few who have stepped up and willingly put it on the line. He endured the process and sacrificed time with his family in order to serve.”
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.