Takoma Park voters chose a new mayor Tuesday, in an election marked by heavy campaigning and a large voter turnout.

Sam Abbott, who lost the 1978 mayoral election by eight votes, handily beat Joseph Faulkner, a City Council member, and Ronald Wylie, a federal government attorney.

"People said my running was going to be a disaster," said Abbott, 72."It is a disaster -- for a system which prevented public participation."

The vote totals were Abbott, 1,291, Faulkner, 1,019, and Wylie, 431.

Abbott actively supported a charter amendment, also on Tuesday's ballot, to change the method of electing City Council members from an at-large system to a ward system. Citizens approved the amendment by a vote of 1,404 to 543.

"The people have spoken," said David Prosten, a leader of the campaign to change the election to a ward system. "We're ready for a change."

In the one council race, Donald Ramsey defeated Clayton Forshee, the incumbent by a vote of 1,308 to 1,038.

"We had a good battle." said Ramsey. "We had a lot of people working for us and that's what made the difference."

Other council members, who did not face opposition, are Jennifer Saloma, David Weisman, James Holland, Vernon Ricks Jr., Frank Garcia, and Norman Patrick III. Patrick and Holland, along with Ramsey, were elected to the council for the first time.

The new council and mayor will take office April 14.