In a special election Tuesday, Grosse Pointe Farms voters chose Joe Ricci to serve a partial term to fill a vacant seat on the city council. According to unofficial results released Tuesday night after the polls closed, Ricci won by 28 votes.
Ricci said Tuesday night in a telephone interview that he is happy to have won and anxious to get started. Tuesday, he said, dragged by as he waited for polls to close and results to start coming in. He campaigned at Brownell Middle School and city hall during the day, he said, noting the low voter turnout.
Unofficial results released Tuesday show Ricci received 499 votes while his competitor, Elizabeth Vogel, earned 471 votes. He received a call from Mayor Jim Farquhar Tuesday night alerting him to the results, he said.
"It was a tough campaign," Ricci said. "I knew it was going to be a close race."
Ricci has lived in the community for more than 30 years. He is "semi-retired," working with his sons at the family's automotive dealerships in Taylor and Clinton Township. He operated an automotive dealership for more than 35 years, handling more than $63 million in sales annually.
His goal in seeking the office is to give back to the community, he said. After finding out about Joe Leonard's passing, Ricci said he talked with his now-late wife about filling the seat. She encouraged him to do so, he said. His only regret about Tuesday is that she isn't here to celebrate his victory.
"I want to give back. I bring moxie to the position," he said. "She knew I would be perfect for it."
Similar to what Ricci previously identified as issues he believes are important in the Farms, he said Tuesday he intends to focus on two main issues:
- the unfunded pension fund
- water rates, runoff
He intends to make his first official appearance as a councilman on Thursday at the second informational meeting with U.S. Border Patrol concerning the proposed radar to monitor Lake St. Clair.
His term will be through November 2015, at which time another two year term will be up for election to complete Leonard's full four year term.
Meanwhile, Vogel posted on her Facebook page that she will seek election in November.