Family members surrounded three returning council members and one newcomer as they took their oaths of office during a swearing-in ceremony in front of friends and supporters Tuesday evening at Denton City Hall.

Denton’s new city secretary, Rosa Rios, led City Council members through all the steps that made the May 4 election official, from the canvassing of the vote through to the final paperwork.

“All righty, I just need you to sign these documents,” she instructed returning District 1 council member Gerard Hudspeth after leading him through his oaths, adding after a pause: “And once you sign these you can’t turn back.”

Hudspeth, along with fellow council members Keely Briggs, John Ryan and newcomer Jesse Davis, was elected to a two-year term.

The vote counts changed slightly from election night with the final canvass, but the overall results stayed the same.

With 5.39% of registered voters in central Denton’s District 1 casting ballots, Hudspeth eked out a 98-vote win over challenger George Ferrie for his second term.

Ryan picked up a few more late ballots for the final tally in District 4, winning 849-691 over challenger Emily Meisner. Just 7.2% of registered voters in southern Denton cast ballots in the race.

John Ryan sworn in

Denton City Council member John Ryan, left, is sworn into office with his wife, Carol, at his side Tuesday.

The largest turnout was in District 3, with 12.32% of registered voters casting ballots in the hard-fought race to represent Denton’s west side. Davis picked up one more ballot after election night, logging 1,723 votes against opponents Diana Leggett, who received 614, and Matt Farmer, who received 286.

The lowest turnout was in District 2, but 4.19% of registered voters still came to the polls. Briggs, who ran unopposed, will represent the north side neighborhoods for a third and final term.

Council members were split on electing a mayor pro tem, the individual who presides over meetings and other official business when the mayor is absent.

Ryan, the current mayor pro tem, nominated Hudspeth to replace him. Then council member Deb Armintor nominated Briggs for the spot.

Mayor Chris Watts called for the nominations to be considered in order. In a 5-2 vote, the council elected Hudspeth mayor pro tem, with Armintor and council member Paul Meltzer opposing.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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