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Stoudt Squeaks Past Heckman in Battle of Incumbents

Result decided by absentee ballots; tally still not official, but Heckman has conceded defeat.

Incumbent Republican defeated incumbent Democrat to retain his seat on , in one of the closest election races in Northampton County this year.

The race for the second of two available council seats in Nazareth's "Ward 2" came down to absentee ballots, which were counted this week by the Northampton County Election Office.

The county as of Thursday night, but both candidates said they were informed Stoudt had won. The final vote tally is likely to be 115-112, with Stoudt named on all five absentee ballots. The preliminary vote count on election night last week -- before absentee ballots were counted -- showed Heckman ahead by 112-110.

The other council seat was captured by newcomer , who ran on both major party lines in the Nov. 8 election.

Heckman, 62, will leave borough council as of the end of the year. In a brief phone interview Thursday, he conceded defeat and sounded upbeat about the future.

“I'm just going to do what I've been doing,” Heckman said, when asked what he hoped to achieve in his last six weeks on council.

As for next year and beyond, he said: “I've got plenty to do.”

Stoudt, 73, the council vice president, said he plans to continue the work he has been doing for decades on council, especially his efforts to improve in the borough -- a hot topic in Nazareth. Stoudt favors a merger with .

“I'm still going to be working with the mayor on regionalization,” he said. “We (must) bolster our police department one way or another.

“I'm going to do the best I can and work for the betterment of the community,” Stoudt added.

The divisive debate within council over the future of the borough police department could intensify next year. Fischl has said he would prefer to retain the borough police force as its own entity, though he added he would consider other options.

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