ELYRIA — Holly Brinda’s quest to become the mayor of Elyria ended nine years after it started Tuesday as she trounced Republican challenger Ray Noble.
As results started streaming in more than an hour after the polls closed, Brinda, who was flanked by a crowd of fellow Democrats at the Knights of Columbus hall on Kipling Street, was called Madam Mayor a number of times and each time it seemed to catch the 53-year-old woman off guard.
“Holly Brinda has always been a good Democrat,” said Art Webber, chairman of the Elyria Democrat Party. “We are going to work well together and do what’s best for the city. Thanks, Madam Mayor.”
Brinda smiled as she heard the title, which was being delivered well before the final numbers were posted by the Lorain County Board of Elections.
“I guess I’m not used to that yet,” she said.
According to unofficial numbers, Brinda won by snagging 8,886 votes, or 68.7 percent, to Noble’s 4,041 votes, or 31.3 percent. When 100 percent of the unofficial numbers were posted, Brinda delivered a congratulatory speech to her supporters.
“I am tired, but also invigorated because I have seen the spark of hope and enthusiasm in Elyrians who are seeking a new way forward,” she said.
Noble could not be reached for comment.
When the bug to become mayor first rooted itself in Brinda’s mind, she said she knew if elected she wanted to help do great things for the city she and five generations of her family called home. Her name did not appear on the ballot as an option for voters until the 2007 primary election, but at that time Mayor Bill Grace defeated Brinda and went on to be elected to another term.
Some would be discouraged by that loss, but Brinda said it only fueled her to go back to the drawing board and hone her revitalization plan for the city. Also in the meantime, Brinda continued to serve on the Elyria school board.
Then, in May, Brinda faced Grace again and was the victorious Democrat nominee to go on to Tuesday’s general election. And, in a city with a strong Democrat voting population many thought Brinda was a shoo-in to become the next mayor.
Everyone but Brinda, who said she never took the election for granted.
She held countless community dialogue sessions, open houses and fundraisers. The goal was twofold, Brinda said. She wanted to hear firsthand from the residents and wanted to offer them the same.
“I not only care about our city, but I care about all the people who live in and work in our city,” she sad. “The road is going to be long and winding, but if there is one thing people say about me, it’s that I have perseverance. And I will work as long and as hard as I can to make sure that government is open, inclusive, humane, accountable, efficient, effective, progressive and has regional perspective that positions us to attract and retain jobs and investments.”
Brinda will assume her position in January. She said in the meantime she will focus on her family and crafting a smooth transition plan.
“A vacation would be great, but I am going to be around Elyria for a while,” she said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.