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ST. MARYS — For the first time in more than a decade, the city of St. Marys has a new mayor.
Republican Patrick McGowan defeated four-term mayor Democrat incumbent Greg Freewalt and nonpartisan candidate Pam Hobler in a tightly contested race. McGowan, a current councilor-at-large, defeated Freewalt by a margin of 1,197 votes (46.81 percent) to 1,136 votes (44.43 percent) in unofficial results. Hobler finished with 224 votes (8.76 percent).
"It feels great," McGowan told The Evening Leader. "We've worked our tails off to get this job and now we've got it and we've got to get to work."
Freewalt, who has been mayor for 16 years, said he was disappointed with the results. The current mayor said he believed the city was moving in the right direction.
"Naturally I am very disappointed in losing when I felt the city was on a very strong run and things were running smoothly," Freewalt said. "There's a great group of us put together that is directing the city and everything is running smoothly. I am not really sure what the concerns were that people were feeling."
Election results remain unofficial until the board of elections certifies the results, which should take place in the coming weeks. There also are 43 provisional ballots citywide.