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CHESAPEAKE – Chesapeake’s City Council will skew a bit younger with the election of Don Carey, a 33-year-old retired NFL player. He easily beat longtime councilman Dwight Parker, 70, who lost his seat even as two other incumbents were re-elected. Carey had the strongest showing of all seven council candidates in the race for three at-large seats, with his 17,502 votes edging out Debbie Ritter’s 17,374, according to the latest unofficial results released Wednesday after officials finished counting a historically large number of absentee ballots.

Parker, who served as vice mayor from 2006 to 2008, lost his bid for another term. The retired educator’s turnout of just shy of 13,000 votes was not enough, placing him fifth. He served a total of roughly 18 years over two stints after first being elected in 1995. Parker, who was backed by the Chesapeake Democratic Committee, congratulated the Republicans, who backed West, Carey, Ike and Ritter, saying they were well organized and executed by reaching out to and contacting their constituents.

“I don’t think the Democrats did that,” Parker said. “We need to take a page out of the Republican playbook.” The coronavirus pandemic also didn’t help — Parker said it hindered the ability to reach his base at local churches.

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