OXFORD – Voters sent George “Pat” Patterson back to City Hall on Tuesday with an overwhelming vote of confidence.
The Oxford native, longtime civic activist and two-term Democratic alderman won nearly three-quarters of the votes against political newcomer Ken McCullough, a Republican, to win the mayor’s job for the next four years.
Patterson will succeed Richard Howorth, who chose not to see a third term.
Unofficial totals gave Patterson 1,989 votes to 708 for McCullough.
Patterson’s reputation as a fiscal watchdog during his eight years on the Board of Aldermen outweighed McCullough’s assertions that Patterson would raise city fees and taxes – an action that Patterson has not ruled out but said would be the “last bullet in my gun.”
McCullough also claimed that Oxford taxpayers paid the highest rates in Mississippi – an assertion Patterson called “a hurtful lie.”
McCullough sought to bury the hatchet Tuesday night.
“The voters spoke, and Pat obviously won, and won big. I’m going to get behind him 100 percent,” he said.
Patterson, who owns several businesses, promised more than full-time effort as mayor.
“I’m a 60-hours-a-week man,” he said after the count. “I believe local government is for service, and that’s going to be one of my main focuses.”
Several close races for alderman were decided, but three could be turn this morning on a count of affidavit ballots.
In Ward 2, incumbent Ernest “E.O.” Oliver nosed out challenger Carter B. Myers. Ward 3 incumbent Janice Antonow, bested Andrew Stephenson, and in Ward 6 Brad Mayo ousted incumbent.
In the undecided races, John Morgan led four-term incumbent Alderman-at-Large Dr. William “Bill” Baker 1,342 to 1,317, with 40 affidavit ballots outstanding. For the Ward 1 seat, which Patterson has held since 2001, Ney Williams led N. Sans Russell 311-304 with 11 affidavit ballots to be counted.
Democratic incumbents Ulysses “Coach” Howell of Ward 4 and Preston Taylor of Ward 5 were unopposed in the general election.
Mike Tonos 6/2/09
Wiseman takes mayor’s race
STARKVILLE – After July 1, the sign on the City Hall office door will read Mayor Parker Wiseman.
In a well-watched political campaign, the 28-year-old attorney took the reins of the Oktibbeha County seat with 59.3 percent of the total, or 2,285 votes, to Marnita Henderson’s 1,553 in Tuesday’s general election.
Wiseman, who becomes one of the state’s youngest mayors of a prominent city, reached the general election in a hotly contested Democratic race against one-term Alderman Matt Cox. They both trounced incumbent Mayor Dan Camp in the May 5 primary.
Henderson, 66, ran unopposed as a Republican.
“This is fantastic,” Wiseman said at City Hall downtown before heading to a post-election celebration.
“This is the culmination of years of dreaming and many months of good, solid hard work by a dedicated group of people.”
Wiseman, who grew up in Starkville and is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Marty Wiseman, will lead his hometown into what many residents see as time for Starkville to reach its potential as a university community.
– Patsy Brumfield
Eaton wins over Smith, Kirk
BOONEVILLE – Booneville voters have chosen new leadership for the next four years, electing Democrat Joe Eaton as mayor over one-term incumbent Roger Smith.
In unofficial vote totals Tuesday, Eaton received 1,107 votes, Smith 536 votes and Republican Ronald “Ron” Kirk 101 votes. About 80 absentee ballots and 43 affidavit ballots have yet to be counted.
Smith was the first Republican ever elected mayor when he ran four years ago, but he sought re-election as an independent to bypass a Republican primary.
Eaton, who lost in the 2005 mayoral primary, said during his campaign that he would make city government more accessible to city residents.
Two of the alderman seats also were decided Tuesday.
In Ward 3 Democrat Mark McCoy outpolled independent Gary “Bubba” McCoy; in Ward 4, Harold Eaton, a Democrat and former alderman, handily defeated Republican William McDonald.
– Lena Mitchell
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal