SALTILLO – Republican incumbent Bill Williams fought off a tough challenge from Democrat Paul Turner to win a second term as mayor on Tuesday.
Williams, a former banker, received 726 votes to 591 for Turner, a businessman and former alderman who ran an aggressive campaign critical of Williams’ leadership. Independent candidate Russell Board received 66 votes.
Williams contended in the campaign that the fast-growing town had made significant strides during his tenure.
After a lengthy wait, more than 200 people who showed up at Williams’ campaign headquarters exploded into cheers and tears when the results were finally called out.
“I have to admit I was worried that Bill wouldn’t win it,” said Mitchell Bell. “In fact, I was sure he’d lose because of the primary results. But I prayed he’d pull it out and he did. I think he’s the best man for the job and I guess a lot of others felt the same way.”
Williams and Turner were unopposed in their party primaries on May 5 and not on the same ballot, but there were contested alderman races and more people voted in the Democratic primary than the Republican primary, leaving Turner with 63 more votes than Williams received.
“I honestly thought he’d win it,” said Susan Johnson, a Turner supporter referring to her candidate. “The primary vote was in our favor. But I guess the people have spoken and elected the man they wanted to be mayor, but I really didn’t expect this.”
When the results were read, the mayor finally got a chance to exhale after months of campaigning.
“I’m glad the people have decided I am the right person for the job in Saltillo,” said Williams. “It was a long campaign, but we handled it well and it showed. The city of Saltillo is poised for something great and it’s not because of Bill Williams, but because of the citizens.”
While the Williams party was rejoicing on one side of Old Highway 45, the Turner camp was in shock on the other side. Turner, upbeat but visibly disappointed, hugged and consoled his supports after the results were read.
“I have to admit that this is a shock for us,” said Turner. “We had a huge following, but I guess they had a larger one. I got in this race because I love Saltillo and this loss won’t change that. I still want to see better water quality for our town and better parks and other facilities. And I don’t want to see the taxpayers burdened like they have been over the past four years. I just hope this town grows and improves because it’s a great place to live.”
Herring tops Anderson
GUNTOWN – Mayoral challenger Robert Herring ousted two-term incumbent Jimmy Anderson in Tuesday’s general election.
Four of five seats on the Board of Aldermen also were decided, but the fifth could be decided by a runoff. All of the candidates ran as independents.
Herring got 230 votes to Anderson’s 147. The vote counts are not final until nine affidavit ballots are counted this morning.
“I’m real appreciative of the vote I got and the people in town … I’m going to work real hard to pay them back for what they’ve done for me over the years,” Herring said Tuesday night.
“I want to congratulate my opponent. He ran a good clean race and I don’t have anything bad to say about him.”
Herring, 69, is retired. He was a two-term Lee County sheriff in the 1970s and 1980s and a one-term Justice Court judge.
The composition of the five-member Board of Aldermen could be decided by nine affidavit ballots today, said Municipal Clerk Shelly McKee. All seats are elected at large.
Incumbents Petey J. Hopkins and Greg Cagle led with 235 and 223 votes, respectively. Bob Davis came in third with 211 votes. Incumbent Ronny Lindsey followed with 133 votes.
Still in the running are George “Mickey” Kuykendall (120 votes), Jacqueline Shumpert (120 votes) and Bob Langner (118 votes).
If the affidavit votes don’t go to any of the three candidates, McKee said Kuykendall and Shumpert will meet in a runoff.
– Carlie Kollath
Williams earns third term
VERONA – Incumbent Mayor Bobby Williams fended off challenger Robert Trice in a close race Tuesday night, securing a third term as mayor.
Williams attracted 341 votes and Trice got 311. The candidates ran as independents.
“I appreciate all the people supporting me and I’m looking forward to four more years,” Williams said late Tuesday night. “I’m always looking for ways to make life better for the people in Verona.”
The results are unofficial until the affidavit votes are counted this morning. City Clerk Nita Westbrook said she didn’t have an exact count of the number of affidavit votes, but said it wouldn’t be enough to change the outcome.
Williams, 70, is a native of Verona.
In the races for the Board of Aldermen, Eddie Tucker was unopposed for Ward 1 and Margaret Baker was unopposed for Ward 2.
Incumbent Jessie Gilmore won the Ward 3 election over challenger Alice Nunnelley.
In Ward 4, Julian Riley defeated Rita Baker, and incumbent Brenda Spurgon won the at-large seat over Larry Burt.
– Carlie Kollath
Hallmark wins second term
SHANNON – Mayor Ronnie Hallmark won re-election to his second term Tuesday by a 3-to-1 margin.
Hallmark, a Democrat, received 313 votes. Independent Lee Hersey had 105.
“My family and I am very humbled that the citizens of Shannon have been so gracious to give me more four years to serve them,” said Hallmark, a 55-year-old wholesale furniture dealer and native of Shannon.
“I am excited and ready to go to work with our new board and am looking forward to the next four years and all of the projects we will work on to better the lives of our citizens here.”
In the only contested alderman race in Tuesday’s general election, Democratic incumbent Debra Grubbs received 100 votes to 51 for independent Rebecca McCarley.
In the May 5 primary, Bryant Thompson won the Ward 1 seat. Joey McCord took Ward 2. Carl Trice won the at-large seat.
Paul Lyles secured the Ward 4 seat in the May 19 runoff.
The 2009 municipal elections were the first in Shannon to divide the city into four wards.
– Michaela Gibson Morris
PLANTERSVILLE – Mayor Gloria Holland was elected to a second term in Tuesday’s balloting.
Holland won easily, pulling in 273 votes over Claude Kelly, who received 60.
“I’m just grateful to people of the town of Plantersville,” Holland said. “I want to think I did a good job the first four years. There’s still a lot to do and I’m committed to that task.”
Nine candidates competed for five seats on the Plantersville Board of Aldermen.
Elected were Sextus Shannon, Jack Wuichet, Renee Morris, Ketrick Marion and Vicki Rigby.
– Michaela Gibson Morris
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal