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Deer Kill Debate Influences Bloomington City Council Race

City councilman Dave Rollo narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger in the primary election.

Bloomington City Council District 4 member Dave Rollo narrowly retained the Democratic nomination in a heated race with Philippa Guthrie during the primary election Tuesday.

Rollo received 52 percent of the vote. Guthrie received 48 percent.

Bloomington Democrats attributed the tight race to Rollo’s stance on controlling the city’s deer population.

Rollo served on the deer task force and has been a proponent of a controversial controlled deer kill at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.

“It was unavoidable, but I don’t think it needs to divide the community,” Rollo said regarding the debate over the deer cull. I think we can work together to resolve it. I think everyone’s in favor of welfare of both humans and the deer. So, we need to come together and solve that problem.”

Guthrie said the city needs to do more though. The city is still considering what to do about the large population of deer in Bloomington neighborhoods.

“We need to make sure that there’s a solution for the neighborhoods,” Guthrie said before the results were finalized. “What I was hearing knocking on doors and canvassing was that there has been some solution at Griffy, but that the neighborhoods still have a large number of deer. I think I would like to as expeditiously as possible have a solution for the neighborhood deer.”

Isabel Piedmont-Smith also won the Democratic nomination for Bloomington City Council District 5, the seat that formerly belonged to Darryl Neher.

Neher gave up his seat to run for mayor, but he lost to Democratic candidate John Hamilton in the primary.

Piedmont-Smith won 60 percent of the vote compared to challenger Gabe Colman’s 31 percent and candidate Kurt Babcock’s 10 percent.

“I have worked incredibly hard and will continue to work hard knocking on doors,” Piedmont-Smith said after her win. “That is really it’s my favorite thing and the most effective thing about campaigning.”

Incumbent third district councilman Marty Spechler lost his seat. Allison Chopra garnered the Democratic nomination with 67 percent of the vote. Spechler received 27 percent, and Mike Satterfield received 6 percent.

“There’s not one person on my generation on the city  council, and I think someone needs to do it and I’m willing to do that,” Chopra said after learning of her victory.

First district councilman Chris Sturbaum retained the Democratic nomination for his seat.

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