Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque greets voters outside Sherwood Heights Elementary School in Auburn on Tuesday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Jason Levesque will get two more years as Auburn’s mayor after defeating Stanwood “Joe” Gray Tuesday night by a vote of 2,222 to 1,521.

Both candidates saw this year’s election as a referendum on what direction the city should go, as officials have spent the last year debating how to update Auburn’s large agricultural zone.

Gray, a farmer, joined the race as a growing number of residents were pushing back against what they saw as efforts by Levesque to open the area to increased development. Similar concerns have played out regarding Lake Auburn, and the two issues have been representative of larger concerns about the direction of the city.

After results came in Tuesday, Levesque was at Gritty’s in Auburn. He said the results from across the field showed that voters are “tired of the failed policies of past leaders of Auburn.”

“This is a mandate from the residents of Auburn that they want a continuation of positivity, a different way of thinking and smart, good development growth,” he said.

He said residents voted out current city officials because, “It hasn’t worked and we need to go in a different, smarter direction.”

Levesque said his “hat is off” to new city councilors Katie Boss, Brian Carrier, Stephen Milks and Tim MacLeod, stating that Boss’s vote total of some 1,900 votes — the highest in the at-large race — is a “testament to her hard work.”

Gray did not respond to a call seeking comment after results were announced, but in a post on his campaign Facebook page late Tuesday night, Gray said, “It has been an interesting three months since I took out papers to run for mayor. I have met many friends and neighbors. The common thread I have heard throughout all of my conversations has been an unyielding desire to improve our city. Thank for your support. I promise to continue to advocate and work to make Auburn the best that it can be. Congratulations to Mayor Levesque!”

Earlier in the day, Gray said he and Levesque were two “completely different” candidates with vastly different visions for the city. He said his supporters were tired of the status quo and taxes that get higher each year.

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