November 11, 2005

Teen wins mayor’s race by two votes

DETROIT (Reuters) - The teen who grabbed the national
spotlight this week by becoming mayor-elect of Hillsdale,
Michigan, after a write-in campaign didn't win by much.

Michael Sessions, an 18-year-old student at Hillsdale High
School, won by a mere two votes over 51-year-old incumbent
Douglas Ingles, instead of the 64-vote victory initially
reported. Hillsdale County officials declared the final tally
of 670 to 668 on Thursday.

Sessions waged a write-in campaign for election because he
was too young to get his name on the official ballot before the
filing deadline.

The unofficial vote count, announced Tuesday night, was
skewed by the fact that voting machines counted every write-in
vote as one for Sessions, County Clerk Thomas Mohr told

That meant ballots with only a stray mark, or those on
which the candidate's name was left blank, were erroneously
tallied in Sessions' favor, Mohr said.

Ingles could not be reached for comment on whether he plans
to seek a recount.

Since Tuesday's election, Sessions has been in the media
spotlight, with appearances on "Late Night with David
Letterman" and several of the TV networks' morning shows.

In an interview with CNN from New York on Friday, as he
shrugged off his tiny margin of victory, Sessions said he had
wanted the top job in Hillsdale, a town of about 9,000 people,
since early last year.

"We've got to revitalize the economy," he said of his
hometown, where 160-year-old Hillsdale College is located.

He also acknowledged that it will take some juggling,
between schoolwork and politics, to successfully complete his
four-year term.

"I'll be a student from 7:50 to 2:30, and then I'll work on
mayor stuff from 3:00 to 6:00," Sessions said.

"My only interest is probably the city of Hillsdale," he
added. "I've never been a big partier."