First returns showed Bill Cecil leading Darby Stricker by 667 to 588 votes in the contest for mayor, but neither candidate was willing to declare a winner. Cecil had 52.8 percent of the vote to Stricker's 46.6 percent

TALENT — First returns showed Bill Cecil leading Darby Stricker by 667 to 588 votes in the contest for mayor, but neither candidate was willing to declare a winner. Cecil had 52.8 percent of the vote to Stricker's 46.6 percent.

"I feel good about that, but it's not over yet," said Cecil. "I hope it stays the way it's going."

"I'm not calling it one way or the other," Stricker said. "I'm still really confident."

Cecil said he campaigned on the idea that he wanted to keep the city moving ahead in the direction he has helped establish.

"I walked door to door a lot and talked to people," said Cecil. "I got a sense that people are pretty happy with the way the city is going."

After serving on the Planning Commission for seven years, Cecil was elected to the City Council in 2006. He has represented the city on several regional boards, including the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation.

"I think the biggest gripe was about the surcharges," said Stricker. "Other than the surcharges, there were concerns about economic development, where drive-thrus would be placed and development of the downtown core."

Stricker has been chairwoman of the Planning Commission for the last two years. She has served on the Parks Commission since 2004 and was on the City Council from 2002 to 2004.

"I think it was a good campaign. We both have different perspectives," said Stricker. "It was a small-town campaign."

The next mayor will replace Don Steyskal, who chose not to seek re-election.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.