TUPELO – Only two current City Council members will keep their jobs after voters ousted the final remaining incumbent in Tuesday’s general election.
First-term Republican Berdell Jones lost the Ward 7 race to Democrat Willie Jennings, who earned 65 percent of the vote with 464 ballots. Jones got 258.
The two had tied in the same race four years ago, with Jones winning after his name was drawn from a hat. Jennings also had run unsuccessfully in 2001.
“I feel great,” Jennings said after the race. “ I really appreciate the voters and their support. It’s been a long road. Third time is a charm, so I guess this must be it. I’m planning to do the work for the people, I’m ready to go to work.”
Ward 6 incumbent Mike Bryan will return for a second term after getting 68 percent of the vote against political newcomer Scott Davis. Bryan, a Republican, earned 882 ballots versus 417 for Davis, a Democrat.
“I’d like to first of all say thank you to all the Ward 6 voters for their vote of confidence and thank you to all the volunteers, workers and supporters who have helped our campaign,” Bryan said. “I look forward to working with the new council and the mayor. Also, thanks to Mr. Davis for a good and clean race.”
Democrat Nettie Davis won a third term in Ward 4 after defeating Republican challenger and first-time political candidate Rhonda Betts. Davis got 464 votes to Betts’s 275.
“I’m proud to be elected again,” Davis said. “I want to finish some of the goals I had set and be supportive of the new mayor … and try to move our city to another level and work with a new council.”
Of the other council members not returning when the next term starts July 6:
– Dick Hill of Ward 1 didn’t seek re-election and will be replaced by Republican Markel Whittington, who beat Democrat Patsy Griffin and independent Cliff Brinkley by gaining 82 percent of the vote in the general election.
– Thomas Bonds of Ward 2 was ousted in the primary election and will be replaced by Republican Fred Pitts, who beat Democrat Shelia Nabors with 63 percent of the vote Tuesday.
– Smith Heavner of Ward 3 didn’t seek re-election and will be replaced by Republican Jim Newell, who picked up 77 percent of the vote to beat Democrat George Witherspoon.
– Bill Martin of Ward 5 was ousted in the primary runoff by Republican Jonny Davis, who got 61 percent of the vote.
– At-Large Councilwomen Doyce Deas and Carolyn Mauldin could not seek another term, because their seats were eliminated at the end of this term by a court order that shrinks the council from nine seats to seven.
Mauldin retired from the council, and Deas sought the seat of mayor, but she lost Tuesday to Jack Reed Jr.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal