BY MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Hundreds of supporters packed the Holiday Inn on Tuesday night to hear the first words from the man who had broken a 28-year Democratic stranglehold on Quincy's mayoral office.
As a big cheer erupted in the room upon announcement of his victory, Kyle Moore soaked up the historic significance of the moment.
"We made it," he said quietly afterward while getting a hug from one of his supporters.
The 32-year-old Moore received 5,690 votes (56.4 percent), while two-time Democratic incumbent John Spring received 4,402.
The first-term alderman is the first Republican to be elected mayor since C. David Nuessen won re-election to a second term in 1981. Moore also is the second youngest mayor in the city's history. Nuessen was 31 when he was first elected in 1977.
"During this campaign, I have talked about what Quincy will become 30 years from now," he told supporters. "When our children lead this city, let them say about tonight that Quincy joined together to work on their behalf, to work every day to ensure their future is brighter and filled with opportunities that we can't imagine today."
Spring is the first incumbent mayor to lose a bid for re-election since Wes Olson was defeated by Don Nicholson in 1969. Nicholson claimed 54.7 percent of the vote that year.
Spring won just five of the 42 precincts and tied Moore in one. He won the 16th precinct (in the 4th Ward) by a 187-149 margin. The other four precincts he won were by seven votes or less.
"It just wasn't meant to be," Spring told supporters at his campaign headquarters at Seventh and Hampshire during his concession speech.
Moore said he expects to get to work right away.
"The issues that I raised are not complicated," he said. "They're common-sense ideas, ideas other communities are doing. It's follow through. Now, it's time for us to execute, and we start tomorrow."
Moore is co-owner of his family's business, Moore's Floors. He said during his campaign he would offer incentives to existing businesses in the city's enterprise zone if they persuade one of their suppliers to locate here, and he vowed to discuss Quincy's economic future with businesses leaders.
He also campaigned on creating a city services measurement tool called "the Quincy Scorecard" and vowed to implement a five-year strategic budgeting plan to help direct city spending, as well as a long-term infrastructure plan.
Spring, 64, was executive director of the Quincy Notre Dame Foundation for 29 years before he won his first term as mayor in 2005. He said Tuesday that he didn't know what he would do next.
He said during the campaign that the city was moving in the right direction, claiming Quincy has managed to make it through the recession better than most communities in the state.
"I just thought we were doing a good job, particularly with the economy the way it is, and knowing all of the cities who have almost had to literally turn their keys in to the state and have had to borrow money," he said.
Moore's most intense criticism of Spring during the campaign was about the city's unsuccessful hydroelectric project. The city had spent more than $5 million before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission abruptly dismissed the city's preliminary permit and licensing application for Lock and Dam 21 in February 2011.
However, Moore told supporters Tuesday night that Spring should be thanked for his service to the city.
"We owe — each and every one of us — a debt of gratitude to Mayor John Spring," he said. "He has served the city well, and I'm looking forward to working with him during this transition."
Republicans won a 10-4 super-majority on the City Council in 2011 — the party's first majority since 1953 when Democrat Leo Lenane was the mayor — and maintained that 10-4 advantage after Tuesday's elections. The council was evenly split at 7-7 after the 2009 election.
In his first foray into local politics, Moore defeated 16-year incumbent Bob Klingele to win election in the city's 3rd Ward in 2009.
As he thanked his campaign staff and volunteers for their work, Moore said he was ready for his new office, just as he was when he was first elected as alderman.
"Four years ago, I ran for alderman and they told me I couldn't win," Moore said. "You all believed in me when everyone said I couldn't win this race. You stuck with me in the dog days of this campaign, and I am thankful to share in this victory with each and every one of you."
1961: R-Wes Olson (9,201 votes) def. D-Leo Lenane (7,957)
1965: R-Wes Olson (8,445 votes) def. D-Walter Terwelp (6,487)
1969: D-Don Nicholson (8,031 votes) def. R-Wes Olson (6,640)
1973: D-Don Nicholson (6,974 votes) def. R-Richard Northern (6,909)
1977: R-David Nuessen (8,127 votes) def. D-Joe Bonansinga (6,641)
1981: R-David Nuessen (7,817 votes) def. D-Kenneth Bickhaus (1,904)
1985: D-Verne Hagstrom (5,912 votes) def. R-Richard Magliari (5,885) and I-Frank Wells (102)
1989: D-Verne Hagstrom (7,012 votes) def. R-Gary Peters (6,461)
1993: D-Chuck Scholz (6,044 votes) def. R-Bill Hoffman (5,689) and I-Ursula Flinspach (468)
1997: D-Chuck Scholz ran unopposed
2001: D-Chuck Scholz (8,706 votes) def. R-Mike Farha (2,489)
2005: D-John Spring (6,254 votes) def. R-David Nuessen (5,476)
2009: D-John Spring (5,268 votes) def. R-Dave Bellis (4,487)
2013: R-Kyle Moore (5,690 votes) def. D-John Spring (4,402)