Bumgarner, Sullivan take citywide wins

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The votes are in on what some people consider one of the mostinteresting elections in some time, and Brookhaven has a new mayorand alderman at large.

Les Bumgarner will pass the alderman at large reins to KarenSullivan on July 1 after he defeated the Rev. Jerry Wilson2,014-1,097 in the mayor’s race, according to unofficial totalsfrom Tuesday’s election. Sullivan claimed an alderman at large racevictory over opponent Ronnie Bass by a margin of 1,940 to1,158.

Bumgarner said he is looking forward to steering Brookhaven andcontinuing the city’s forward progress in years to come.Brookhaven’s mayor-elect said having a board full of returningincumbents will be a plus because board members are already awareof what projects are under way.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This is good because we’re all up to speed on what’s going on,and we can continue on the progress we’ve been making,” Bumgarnersaid. “Karen (Sullivan) will be a great addition to the board.She’ll have about a month to get in step with what we’redoing.”

Bumgarner said current Mayor Bob Massengill has done a lot ofhard work in making the city a better place, and that he will betalking with him over the next month about the office.

“Following Bob (Massengill), that’s going to be some big shoesto fill,” Bumgarner said. “But I look forward to the challenge.He’s assured me that he’ll help all he can in the transition.”

The race came down to the wire, with Democratic opponent JerryWilson leading through the first five precincts reporting. Whenfive wards were counted, Wilson led Bumgarner by an unofficialtotal of 1,065 to 996.

But Ward Four, which turned out 1,050 voters, came in aroundmidnight and turned the tide in Bumgarner’s favor. After WardFour’s votes were tallied, Bumgarner led by 917, with a total of2,014 to 1,097.

But, Bumgarner said, it’s time to forget about elections issuesand move on to business at hand.

“Brother Jerry (Wilson) led a hard-fought campaign and was aworthy opponent,” Bumgarner said. “And now is the time for us toput this campaign behind us and look toward putting the city backon track together to continue giving our citizens the quality oflife they deserve.”

Wilson said he was grateful for the support he received frompeople in the city, and that he plans to continue to serve thecounty as Lincoln County District One supervisor and president ofthe board.

“I give God the praise, the honor and the glory, and I thankHim,” he said. “I thank those who voted for me, I really appreciatethat, and I thank those who voted against me. I even thank thosewho didn’t vote at all.”

And Wilson offered a message of goodwill for his opponent aswell.

“My prayers go out for Les and his family as the new mayor ofBrookhaven,” he said.

According to unofficial totals, 3,111 votes were cast in themayor’s race. That represents an overall turnout of approximately28 percent of the city’s 11,030 voters.

A closer analysis indicates that Bumgarner ran strongest whereturnout was the heaviest.

In Wards Four, Five and Six, Bumgarner received a combined 1,708votes. That amounted to about 31.6 percent of the combined wards’5,394 registered voter total.

In comparison, Wilson captured a combined 857 votes in WardsOne, Two and Three. That total represented only about 15 percent ofthose areas’ 5,636 total number of registered voters.

Sullivan defeated Bass in the alderman at large race on thestrength of Ward Four’s turnout as well. Before the box from WardFour was counted, Bass led 1,104-959. After Ward Four’s votes weretallied, Sullivan claimed a solid 1,940-1,158 victory.

“It’s very exciting, I appreciate every single vote I got, aswell as all those people that came out to make the system work thatcast maybe their vote the other way,” she said. “I’m glad peoplecare about Brookhaven.”

Sullivan said being the lone addition to the veteran board willbe an exciting challenge for her.

“That’s the first time I’ve thought to think about being theonly new one,” she said. “As much as I care about Brookhaven and Iknow that board does too, I feel I fit right in. I feel good aboutus doing the right thing and making the right decisions, and I lookforward to working with them.”

Bass did not return a phone call seeking comment.