Three former candidates have thrown their hats back in the ring for a seat on the Leesburg Town Council.
Josh Thiel, Gwen Pangle and Neil Steinberg confirmed today that they intend to run for the special election to fill the remaining three years of Ken Reid’s council term. Reid announced his resignation from the council on Tuesday, citing an employment opportunity. His resignation is effective Dec. 1.
Thiel was the runner-up in the most recent Town Council special election Nov. 7, to fill the remaining 12-and-a-half months of Kelly Burk’s council term, following her election to the mayor’s seat last November. When he heard of Reid’s resignation this week, he jumped at the opportunity to run again. Although he said he will do things a bit differently this time.
“After the past election, I kept telling myself, ‘God has a plan for me.’ I didn’t anticipate it to happen this fast, but here we go,” he said. “I plan on running a different campaign this time around that is focused more on the people, not the politics. I had an overwhelming amount of people encouraging me to run again and thanking me for how hard I worked for them.”
Thiel said it is due to these supporters and his wife, Abigail, that he is ready for another run. “I would like to give back to the community that has given to me my whole life,” he said.
Pangle narrowly missed out on a council seat a year ago, coming in fourth place and 42 votes shy of securing a four-year council term. She initially thought she would run for this November’s special election but decided to hold off, owing in part to the unexpected start of a modeling career. Now, she said she’s ready to dust off her campaign signs for another shot at the council.
“I never gave up on my desire to serve the residents of Leesburg; losing the 2016 race by less than 50 votes was disappointing, but I felt it was a decent showing for a first time candidate,” she said. “I chose not to run for the interim seat as, frankly, it is expensive and very time intensive. My decision was to wait and run in 2018 for a full term. Life events have a funny way of changing your best laid plans, and this unexpected vacancy accelerated that plan.”
Pangle said she has “resisted long enough” the servant leadership and core values that go along with it that run through her DNA, pointing to her early life as the daughter of an Army colonel, a Girl Scout, a Keyette, and the mayor of a mock city at Girls State.
Steinberg was planning to run in this November’s special election, but decided to postpone his council campaign shortly before the August filing deadline, noting that the victor Nov. 7 would have to run for a new term in November 2018. He said he was already planning to run for one of the three four-year council terms up for grabs next November when Reid’s announcement caused him to change gears.
“I was planning to run in November . No one knew this opportunity was going to present itself. With the opportunity having presented and since this [term] is for three years and we need to fill the seat, this was an opportunity to run now,” he said.
The council this week expressed support for holding the special election in early February, as early as Tuesday, Feb. 6, because it would fall within 90 days of Reid’s resignation so would avoid the need to appoint an interim council member to fill the seat.