Incumbent Flint, Michigan, Mayor Karen Weaver, who led the city as it gained national attention over its devastating water crisis, lost her bid for reelection Tuesday, according to official results from the Genesee County clerk’s office.
Michigan Democratic state Rep. Sheldon Neeley defeated Weaver in a close race with 7,082 votes to Weaver’s 6,877, according to the county clerk’s office.
Weaver who became the city’s first female mayor in 2015, has not conceded, telling The Flint Journal on Tuesday she “would not rule out a recount.”
“I think that I fought a good fight and we will see,” she told the Journal. “If he is the winner I will congratulate him. I still want to say to the residents I appreciate all of the support they’ve shown me.”
Neeley claimed victory Tuesday night at his watch party.
“I just want to thank God, my family, my supporters, and the residents of the city of Flint, and also, you know, all of those individuals who want us to unite this community under a new leadership, giving us a vision to move forward,” Neeley told CNN affiliate WJRT-TV.
In 2015, Weaver ran on a platform of fighting for Flint residents during the crisis that began in 2014 as a result of high levels of lead in the city’s dirnking water. Weaver was popular with residents and favored by Democrats at the time of that election, but she has faced controversy in recent years. She endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and became a national figure during the campaign as she became a prominent supporter of the former first lady.
In 2016, a federal lawsuit alleged Weaver directed an employee to divert potential donations from a charity for water crisis victims toward “Karenabout Flint,” a fund sharing a name with her campaign fund. She called those allegations “outrageously false” at the time and the suit was later dismissed. In 2017, she survived an unrelated recall vote to serve out the remainder of her term.