Laurel City Council member Dani Duniho was elected the city's first woman mayor yesterday, defeating former City Council member Warren R. Marton Jr. by a vote of 912 to 383.
Four incumbent council members and newcomer Timothy F. Abell, who ran as a group called the Alliance, also won.
Duniho, 44, a three-term council member endorsed by the Alliance and by outgoing Mayor Robert J. DiPietro, called her victory "an affirmation that most of the people in the city like what we have been doing and would like to see more of it."
Duniho, who ran on a platform of increased public services for the city of 14,700, said her top priority as mayor will be improving public transportation, including offering midday and late-night train and bus service. In addition, she said she will press for funding parks and recreation projects and improvements to city streets and sidewalks.
Marton, 44, who served on the council from 1978 to 1980, said that "though we didn't win the battle, we at least brought to light some very important issues." He cited his proposals for imposing a temporary moratorium on annexation and development of the city and fighting noise and air pollution problems.
The election marked the first contested mayoral race in eight years and the first contested council races in six years, according to a spokeswoman for the city Board of Election Supervisors. The turnout of 1,292 of the city's 5,480 registered voters was more than twice the turnout in the last three elections.
In council races, incumbent H. Edward Ricks and Board of Zoning Appeals member Timothy F. Abell won in Ward 1 with 893 and 776 votes, respectively, compared with 426 for challenger W. Mark Dendy. In Ward 2, incumbents Corlette C. Calvert and William G. Grenier Jr. were reelected with 868 and 812 votes, respectively, compared with 376 for Johnnie W. Fisher. At-large incumbent Frank G. Persico was reelected, receiving 761 votes to 445 for Robert F. Stahley.
The new council will be sworn in March 24.