DOVER — By a decisive margin, Town Supervisor Sam Stratton was elected Dover town chairman in Tuesday evening’s recall election primary, unseating controversial Chairman Mario Lena.
Stratton, a retired police officer, received 319 votes, or 54 percent of the 586 votes cast. Lena received 175 and Dean Larsen, a former town supervisor and owner of the Hog’s Nest Saloon in Kansasville, received 90.
If none of the candidates had received more than 51 percent of the vote, the two highest vote-getters would have gone on to a run-off election on Aug. 28.
“I want to thank town voters for believing in me,” said Stratton, who will serve the rest of Lena’s term, which ends in April 2019. “I can’t wait to continue to move our town forward and continue the work that we’ve begun getting our town out of debt, fixing our roads and fixing our drainage.”
Stratton’s supervisor seat, for which he was serving his third term, is now vacant. A new supervisor will be appointed to fill the seat, and Stratton said he wants to get that done at the next Town Board meeting on Aug. 13.
Lena could not be reached for comment regarding the election results shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. He told The Journal Times Tuesday afternoon that he planned to be asleep by the time the results came in.
“I’m going to be sound asleep, and I won’t know anything until tomorrow morning,” Lena said.
Lena, a mechanic, operator of a Kansasville automotive repair business and longtime town resident, added that he plans to run again in the spring election.
“I feel very strongly that I will unseat Sam (Stratton) in the spring,” he said.
Elected in April 2017, Lena proved to be divisive in his brief tenure as chairman. In October, he was censured, and in March, he allegedly accused past town chairmen of embezzlement and fraud during a panel discussion at Leadership Union Grove’s Government Day. He also was accused of driving town vehicles without permission. Stratton and other town residents had asked Lena to resign at Town Board meetings.
“(Being town chairman) wasn’t on my bucket list, to tell you the truth,” Larsen said after the results came in Tuesday night. “I just wanted (Lena) out of there … I’m just glad it’s over with and he’s out.”