Orrville mayor to be opposed for first time in 21 years

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For the first time in his 21-year stint as mayor of Orrville, Gene McHugh faces opposition for his seat.

Louvenia Diane Lumpkin, an area U.S. Postal Service employee, qualified for mayor not long before Tuesday’s deadline. Citing a need to bring the community together, Lumpkin said she was excited for the impending election.

“I felt like our community needed to be unified, and I felt like, me being the person that I am, I could bring people together so that we could learn how to work together in the community,” Lumpkin said.

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She said she was not intimidated by the number of years McHugh has served as mayor of Orrville, and said she felt confident entering the race.

“I feel like whatever God has for me is for me,” she said. “I don’t let people intimidate me.”

A life-long resident of Orrville, Lumpkin said she was well known throughout the community, which she hopes will help when it comes time for residents to vote in the Aug. 28 municipal election.

McHugh said rumors of Lumpkin’s intentions to run reached him before she qualified, so he was aware he’d face an opponent for the first time in his career.

Still, he said he doesn’t plan to change anything about his campaigning this time around.

“I’m feeling confident,” McHugh said. “I’ve been fair with everybody and my job is to enforce the ordinances and the laws, and that’s just what I’ve done for 21 years. I’ll continue to do that.”

News of Lumpkin’s qualification, and consequently, McHugh’s first-time challenge, broke quickly to residents.

“It’s progress,” Barbara Muse, a 30-year resident of Orrville, said. “It’s exciting to have somebody challenge [McHugh]. I’m just surprised. He’s a great person, but I never heard of anyone running against him. I’m excited.”

Orrville resident Jessica Lewis echoed Muse’s sentiment.

“He’s been mayor for a long time,” Lewis said. “I’m surprised, and it’s exciting to me.”

Lumpkin said she was glad to be giving the people of Orrville a choice in the coming election.

“In the past, they didn’t have a choice but now, with [McHugh] and me running, they’ll have a choice,” Lumpkin said. “And I think the people will be pleased that they have do have a choice.”