Waco investment banker Jim Holmes won election to his District 5 seat, besting challenger Deanna Leach, a craniosacral therapist, 913 votes to 439.

The Waco City Council appointed Holmes to fill the District 5 seat last summer after its previous holder, Kyle Deaver, became Waco mayor.

Holmes, 60, said he was encouraged with voter turnout in the election, his first, and praised the work of his advisory team.

“I want to thank all the voters of District 5 who turned out, and I want to thank my advisory team, which had people from across the political spectrum,” he said Saturday night.

The returning city council member said he feels that his business background and experience were key factors in his election, particularly given the outlook of the present mayor and city council.

“I think we have a business-minded, progressive council right now,” he said, pointing out the council’s focus on basic concerns, including infrastructure, development and police and fire protection.

The proposed replacement of the city’s regional landfill adjacent to the existing landfill proved one of the contentious issues in District 5, which includes parts of West Waco, China Spring and the Highway 84 corridor. Both candidates found themselves on the same side of that issue — namely, that the city needs to consider alternatives to the proposed location. They also agreed on other subjects that came up during the election.

Holmes, in fact, encouraged his opponent to keep active in city issues.

“She ran a great campaign, and I hope she stays involved with the city,” he said. “She has some cool ideas.”

Leach, a first-time candidate like Holmes, agreed and found plenty of encouragement in the election results.

“One of the reasons I got into this race is I feel we need contested races in this city,” Leach said. “More women need to be running. Thirty-three percent is a good showing. . . . I’m humbled and pleased by the people who voted for me.”

Leach said she and Holmes had shared the opinion that no matter who won the council seat, the other person should become involved in city committees or boards. That, she said, she plans to do.

Holmes noted that voters on Saturday also approved a $34 million expansion and improvement of the Extraco Events Center, which happens to be located in his district.

“It’s been a big day in District 5,” he said.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor

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