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Westerman concedes Marble Falls mayoral race

Richard Westerman and Dave Rhodes

Incumbent Marble Falls Mayor Richard Westerman (left) conceded the 2023 mayoral election to Councilor Dave Rhodes (right) after considering calling for a recount due to the race’s two-vote margin. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Incumbent Marble Falls Mayor Richard Westerman conceded the May 6 mayoral election to Councilor Dave Rhodes after initially asking for a hand recount due to the race’s two-vote margin. Westerman received 224 votes to Rhodes’ 226.

Westerman decided against a recount after a spot-check of results by Burnet County Elections Office officials showed no change in the race’s outcome, the mayor told DailyTrib.com.

“They’re required by law to do a spot-check on a portion of the election, and they chose (the Marble Falls mayoral election) to do their spot-check on,” Westerman said. “It came back with no change, so I did not pursue the recount past that.”

The overall vote tally still could change by one vote, Westerman said.

“There were three provisional ballots,” he said. “One of them should have been approved and would change the count by one (vote), either for or against.”

Rhodes said he respects his opponent’s decision to concede the election.

“I appreciate that he’s willing to move on,” he said. “He’s got a lot that he can continue to add to the community.”

Westerman, who has served the city in various capacities for decades, hopes to remain involved in local governance following the defeat.

“I’ve always been somewhat involved in the city, and I won’t be going away,” he said. “Obviously, I’m going to spend more time on my business, but I will stay involved.” 

The owner of JB Sales, a lighting company, did not rule out potential future bids for mayor or city councilor.

As for Rhodes, the mayor-elect said he will serve the interests of all residents in his first term.

“I got elected to be the mayor of Marble Falls, and that’s everybody,” he said. “I will be everybody’s leader.”

Among the top issues on his agenda are the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and the preservation of small-town Marble Falls.

“I really want to drive the sense of community,” he said. “That entails a lot of different parts and pieces. The big thing for me is still the wastewater project. That’s still the biggest municipal project that we may ever do here. It means a tremendous amount, not only for the money we spend but for our ability to grow and service the community.” 

City staff will play a major role in the transition between the mayors.

“We’ve got a phenomenal staff,” Rhodes said. “The way the city operates on a day-to-day standpoint really doesn’t need a lot of tweaking, just oversight.”

Rhodes will officially become mayor once he is sworn in on May 16 during a regular meeting of the Marble Falls City Council. Councilors being sworn in that day are incumbent Bryan Walker, Craig Magerkurth, who makes a return to the council, and newcomer Karlee Cauble.

nathan@thepicayune.com