Voters stick with most incumbents

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Four incumbent aldermen were returned to office, while Ward FiveAlderman Tom Smith trailed challenger D.W. Maxwell in a race thatwas too close to call following Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

In Ward Five, Maxwell had 167 votes to Smith’s 162 with thestatus of five affidavit ballots still undetermined. Affidavitballots are those cast by voters whose names, for whatever reason,do not appear in the poll book.

Percy Rauls, Brookhaven Democratic Executive Committee chairman,said the panel would meet this afternoon to certify electionresults and to rule whether Ward Five’s affidavit ballots would becounted.

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“We’ll check the affidavit ballots to see if they’re on thebooks and what ward they’re in,” Rauls said.

Smith, who is seeking a third term as alderman, faces twohurdles in his effort to gain the party’s nomination. First, allfive affidavit ballots must be ruled eligible and all five must becast for him.

Then, the race would be tied. It was unclear Tuesday how a tiewould be resolved, with Brookhaven election officials mentioningother cities flipping a coin and drawing straws to determine awinner.

Smith said he has indicated he would like a recount.

“I’d like to count it to make sure we’re right,” Smith said.”The only thing I want is it to be correct.”

The incumbent, though, said the people spoke Tuesday.

“You get out and do the best you can and hope for the best,”Smith said. “You can’t please everybody.”

Maxwell had no comment on Tuesday’s results. He said it is tooclose.

“It could absolutely end in a tie,” Maxwell said.

The Ward Five Democratic primary winner will face Republican DonGodbold in the June 7 general election.

In other election activity, Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates andWard Six Alderman John E. “Buddy” Allen avoided runoffs by winningtheir races outright. Bates faced three opponents, while Allen hadtwo challengers.

Bates said it was a blessing to be elected to a fifth term asalderman. He thanked God, his family and Ward Two voters for thevictory.

“I thought about retiring, but there’s still a lot more outthere that I can do,” Bates said. “I’ve got a lot of pushleft.”

Bates said he hopes the next four years will be the best yet. Hesaid the city has a number of projects under way that he would liketo see completed, including annexation and the multi-modaltransportation facility.

“This city is growing,” Bates said.

In Ward Six, Allen said it was a “great feeling” to bere-elected. Allen, who initially was chosen in special election tofill the remaining two years of an unexpired term, will begin histhird full term in office.

“I’m humbled and grateful to the people of Ward Six who’ve givenme the chance to serve them for four more years,” Allen said. “Iwill continue to do everything I can to help them.”

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron was chosen for a third termover challenger Elisa Corley Jr. The vote was 153 to 117.

“I’m very excited about it,” Cameron said of his victory. “Ithank God and appreciate all my supporters who helped me. I want tocontinue to serve the people as Ward One alderman.”

Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson said she wants to continue torepresent her ward voters’ concerns and issues on the cityboard.

“I want to thank God first of all and all the voters of WardThree who came out and supported me,” Wilson said.

Wilson had the largest margin of victory in any of the wardraces, defeating challenger Donald Thadison by a margin of277-70.

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner and Ward Four Alderwoman ShirleyEstes are unopposed in their reelection bids. Mayor Bob Massengill,City Clerk Mike Jinks and Police Chief Pap Henderson are unopposedin the citywide races.

Minus Ward Four, whose voting place was not open because therewere no contested races, Tuesday’s election had a 22 percent voterturnout.

Cameron, Bates, Wilson and Allen do not have Republicanopponents in the general election. With citywide races alsouncontested, Ward Five will be the only contested race on thegeneral election ballot.