Jesse Davis

Denton City Council District 3 candidate Jesse Davis looks at election results with his wife, Diana, 8-year-old daughter, Tori, and 4-year-old son, Sam, during a watch party Saturday at Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center. Davis easily won the three-way race with about 66% of the vote.

Jesse Davis avoided a runoff to win the District 3 seat on the Denton City Council outright Saturday, securing about 66% of the vote over his two opponents, Matt Farmer and Diana Leggett.

In addition, all three incumbents were reelected, based on unofficial results reported Saturday night. Council members Gerard Hudspeth and John Ryan edged out competitors to return for second terms.

More than 800 voters also went to the polls only to say “yes” to council member Keely Briggs’ third and final term. She had no opponent in District 2 and there were no other issues on the ballot.

Ryan secured 55% of the vote over Emily Meisner in District 4’s southern neighborhoods. Hudspeth won over George Ferrie in District 1 by the same margin, but with fewer voters separating their totals.

For all the candidates’ hard work, thousands of Denton voters decided they had better things to do these past two weeks than vote for their City Council representative. Just over 7% of the city’s 79,722 registered voters cast ballots in the election.

John Ryan

John Ryan, second from right, speaks with Andre “Frenchy” Rheault, right, during an election watch party Saturday at The Dive in Denton. Ryan successfully ran for reelection for City Council in Denton’s District 4.

In District 3, Davis lost his home precinct to Leggett and a handful of precincts to Farmer, but enjoyed broad support from voters in Precinct 4003, home to the Robson Ranch gated senior community and a few other outlying precincts on Denton’s west side. Outgoing District 3 council member Don Duff lives in Robson Ranch.

Davis said he felt good about the results and credited his supporters for the win.

“This only comes about when you have a good team and they are willing to do what it takes,” Davis said.

But he also thought his campaign’s win signaled that voters are done with divisiveness in politics.

“Denton is ready to move forward,” Davis said. “I’m excited.”

Leggett said she hopes to run again in two years.

“The heart of Denton is still with me,” Leggett said. “I hope my ideas to move the city forward in a positive and loving way will come to the table.”

Farmer said he was proud of his team and how hard they worked helping him knock on doors and remind people of the importance of voting in local elections.

“I don’t think anyone has ever put this much work into District 3,” Farmer said, adding that he was also disappointed in the turnout. “The overall numbers do reveal the apathy that exists in municipal elections.”

Gerard Hudspeth

Denton City Council District 1 incumbent Gerard Hudspeth, who won reelection Saturday, holds his 2-year-old daughter, Olalla, and checks at his phone during a watch party at Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center.

In the hard-fought race for central Denton’s District 1, council member Hudspeth said he was ready to go back to work on the issues that were important to him, including keeping property taxes low and addressing public safety and infrastructure needs.

“It was absolutely hard-fought,” Hudspeth said. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to go back and work.”

Only 98 votes separated him from Ferrie in unofficial results Saturday night. District 1 often has the lowest turnout in the city, and that was true Saturday for the three contested races. District 3 had 12.3% turnout, District 4 had 7% and District 1 had 5.3%.

Ferrie did not return a call for comment Saturday night.

George Ferrie

George Ferrie, center, speaks with friends and supporters at an election watch party Saturday at Crossroads Bar. Ferrie, a local businessman, challenged incumbent Gerard Hudspeth for Denton City Council District 1.

In District 4, the race was upended for a time for Ryan, who was hospitalized soon after he filed for reelection.

“I had to rearrange my game plan,” Ryan said, adding that he was thankful for the help he got from his supporters and especially his wife, Carol Ryan.

“I lost track of how many phone calls she made and doors she knocked on,” John Ryan said.

He was also grateful to the voters for their support, he said.

“I want to thank them for allowing me to have two more years to serve the city,” Ryan said.

Emily Meisner

Emily Meisner, center left, speaks with student supporters at an election watch party at Bagheri’s Italian Restaurant on Saturday. Meisner challenged incumbent John Ryan for the District 4 seat on the Denton City Council.

Meisner, his opponent, said she was honored and inspired by the diversity of her supporters, including many of her former students at Guyer High School.

“They showed up tonight and sat with me,” Meisner said. “I feel like we have planted seeds for positive change.”

Election Results: Denton City Council

. Name Votes Percent
District 1
George Ferrie 397 44.5%
✔️ Gerard Hudspeth 495 55.5%
District 2
✔️ Keely Briggs 815 100%
District 3
Matt Farmer 286 10.9%
Diana Leggett 614 23.4%
✔️ Jesse L. Davis 1,722 65.7%
District 4
Emily Meisner 690 44.9%
x John Ryan 846 55.1%

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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