Small-town connections pay off for Cloverdale council winner

Owning a pub can have its advantages in small-town politics.

Mary Ann Brigham, owner of Ruth McGowan's Brewpub, took a two-year hiatus from the Cloverdale City Council, but it didn't hurt when she ran for re-election.

Brigham cruised to victory in the City Council race on Tuesday, capturing 41 percent of the vote. Incumbent Bob Cox retained his seat, with 32 percent of the vote, defeating fellow incumbent Gus Wolter, who received 27 percent.

Brigham concedes that her high visibility downtown as pub owner, as well as being president of the Performing Arts Center, were key.

"I know most people in town. I know their kids, I know grandmothers," she said Wednesday. "The only reason people support me the way they do, is I'm so involved and plugged into the community on so many different levels."

With only two council seats up for grabs, third-place finisher Wolter lost his bid for a fourth, four-year term.

"What helps Mary Ann is her establishment in town. People come to her every day," said Wolter, a bank vice-president who works out of town.

He joked about buying a pub if he ever runs for election again.

"You have a captive audience coming in," he said, adding that Brigham "has a good reputation within the community. That goes a long way."

Even more surprising is that Brigham did no door-to-door campaigning like her rivals, nor did she print campaign literature.

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