Teen wins mayor's race by two votes


DETROIT (Reuters) - The teen who grabbed the national spotlight this week by becoming mayor-elect of Hillsdale, Michigan, after a write-in campaign didn't win by much.

Michael Sessions, an 18-year-old student at Hillsdale High School, won by a mere two votes over 51-year-old incumbent Douglas Ingles, instead of the 64-vote victory initially reported. Hillsdale County officials declared the final tally of 670 to 668 on Thursday.

Sessions waged a write-in campaign for election because he was too young to get his name on the official ballot before the filing deadline.

The unofficial vote count, announced Tuesday night, was skewed by the fact that voting machines counted every write-in vote as one for Sessions, County Clerk Thomas Mohr told reporters.

That meant ballots with only a stray mark, or those on which the candidate's name was left blank, were erroneously tallied in Sessions' favor, Mohr said.

Ingles could not be reached for comment on whether he plans to seek a recount.

Since Tuesday's election, Sessions has been in the media spotlight, with appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" and several of the TV networks' morning shows.

In an interview with CNN from New York on Friday, as he shrugged off his tiny margin of victory, Sessions said he had wanted the top job in Hillsdale, a town of about 9,000 people, since early last year.

"We've got to revitalize the economy," he said of his hometown, where 160-year-old Hillsdale College is located.

He also acknowledged that it will take some juggling, between schoolwork and politics, to successfully complete his four-year term.

"I'll be a student from 7:50 to 2:30, and then I'll work on mayor stuff from 3:00 to 6:00," Sessions said.

"My only interest is probably the city of Hillsdale," he added. "I've never been a big partier."