Runoff needed in Ward 3 race

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The field of candidates has narrowed to two, and voters willdecide next Tuesday whether Mrs. Jerry L. Wilson or George Faustwill be the city’s next Ward Three alderman.

Wilson, the wife of the former alderman, and Faust, a Brookhavenbusiness owner, qualified for the Feb. 17 runoff after getting themost votes in Tuesday’s special election. Wilson led thefour-candidate field with 108 votes while Faust had 102, accordingto complete but unofficial totals.

“I just thank the Lord,” Wilson, 45, said last night as she leftthe city boardroom after vote-counting was completed. “I appreciateall the people who voted for me and hope they come back next weekto vote for me.”

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Faust, 39, said Tuesday’s election was a “fair contest.”

“It’s my first time running for elected office,” Faust said.”I’ve met some great people on the campaign trail, and I’m lookingforward to meeting some more between now and next week.”

Clarence B. “Doc” Johnson, a former ward alderman on twoprevious occasions, finished third Tuesday with 43 votes. DavidHoward, an EPCO employee in his first campaign for elected office,was fourth with 15 votes.

The special election is needed after the Rev. Jerry L. Wilsontook office as Lincoln County District One supervisor last month.The winner of next Tuesday’s runoff will fill the remainder of histerm through June 2005.

Absentee voting in the runoff begins today in the City Clerk’sOffice. The office will be open normal hours through Friday and onSaturday from 8 a.m. until noon for absentee voting.

The 268 votes cast yesterday represented a 21.7 percent turnoutamong Ward Three’s 1,233 registered voters.

“I was hoping for more,” Election Commission Chairwoman BonitaBullock said of turnout.

However, she speculated that rainy weather might have kept somepeople away. She was hoping for better weather and a better turnouton Feb. 17.

Election officials recounted votes several times Tuesday nightafter there was a discrepancy between the number of ballots and thevoter sign-in sheet. Bullock said officials determined that a votermay have forgotten to sign the sheet.

No candidate challenged the election results, which wereexpected to be certified Wednesday.

“Everything was fine. We’ll go on to the runoff,” Bullocksaid.