CARY – In a sometimes heated election, Mark Kownick edged out Village Trustee Bruce Kaplan to become the next village president.
According to Tuesday's unofficial results, Kownick had 1,450 votes to Kaplan's 1,305 votes.
Kownick will replace current Village President Tom Kierna, who decided not to run for another term.
Both camps watched results at downtown Cary establishments Tuesday evening. Kaplan was at Galati's Pizza & Pasta. Kownick was at his campaign headquarters at the High Road Events Building.
As the final precincts were posted, Kownick, who was a trustee from 2009-11, declared victory and prepared to open a few bottles of champagne.
"I think our ground work and message resonated with the people," Kownick said.
Kownick, owner of Action Building Maintenance Corp. said the village board can take the town to the next level and bring retail development to help make Cary a destination. Additional retail would help bring in more sales tax to town and reduce the property-tax burden on residents, Kownick said.
Kownick supporters remained confident throughout the evening. Kownick said campaign volunteers estimated that he was up by 150 to 155 votes.
Leading up to the election, Kownick and Kaplan differed on economic development strategies.
Kownick wanted to look at finding as many sales tax-generating businesses for the retail area. He said he wanted reasonable fees for development.
"I ran a clean, fact-based campaign," Kownick said. "I stuck to that message, and it resonated with all of Cary."
Kaplan, who did not immediately concede, said that the roughly 150-vote margin would be hard to overcome.
"I don't expect that to change overnight," Kaplan said. "I still look forward to being on the board and have a vote and move the agenda forward. ... It was a good experience, I'm glad I [ran]. We'll be working hard on the board to get things done."
Kaplan, a local Realtor, said he doesn't wish Kownick any ill will.
"He's earned the position, he will no doubt perform well," Kaplan said. "He's a capable person, intelligent person. He has some good ideas. The one thing he has to figure out is mayor is a figurehead position. It's always been a trustee form of government."
Kaplan will remain on the board as his term as trustee expires in 2015.