• 79°

Belcher wins Ward One alderman runoff election

     Challenger Randy Belcher has ended Dorsey Cameron’s 16-year tenure as Ward One’s alderman, defeating the incumbent in Tuesday’s runoff election.

     Belcher captured a commanding share of the vote total with approximately 62 percent of ballots cast compared to Cameron’s 37.7 percent, according to complete but unofficial vote totals.

     “It just goes to show if you keep faith, work hard, do right, things will be OK,” Belcher said from the Ward One precinct after initial vote totals indicated the election was his. “I just want to thank the people who came out and voted for me.”

     Cameron offered congratulations to his successor.

     “My opponent put on a good campaign,” Cameron said. “I just wish him the best.”

     The incumbent was also ready to say goodbye to a campaign he’s been running since January.

     “I’m just glad it’s all over,” he said.

     With no Republican or independent candidates in the race, Belcher’s victory in the Democratic runoff makes him the presumptive winner of the Ward One alderman seat.

     A deputy with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Belcher is a 22-year resident of Ward One.

     As he prepares to take office and beyond, the alderman-elect said he welcomes questions from constituents

     “Ring my number, and I’ll be there,” Belcher said.

     Belcher and Cameron competed against each other 16 years ago during the election cycle in which Cameron won his first term.

     However, Tuesday’s rematch was also a reversal for the two men. Cameron netted the most votes during that 16-years ago primary and went on to clinch his win during the runoff.

     During this year’s runoff, Belcher took first during the May 7 primary, and that momentum carried him through the runoff to victory.

     Ward One voter participation was almost identical to this year’s May 7 primary. In that race, there were 475 ballots cast for alderman, and 474 voters turned out Tuesday in the runoff.

     Belcher received 295 votes in Tuesday’s runoff, and Cameron 178, as indicated by unofficial complete voting results that include all absentee ballots.

     Both men improved on their totals from May 7, when they competed in a total field of five candidates, but Belcher picked up the most additional support.

     In that May 7 race, the challenger Belcher received 194 votes and the incumbent 163.

     The alderman-elect acknowledged the difficulty of facing a longtime incumbent but said he believed a few things were in his favor.

     “People in Ward One want a change,” he said.

     Belcher’s victory assures a minimum of two freshman aldermen will sit on the next board of aldermen. Fletcher Grice won the Republican primary in Ward Five and with no general election opponents will replace D.W. Maxwell who’s running for mayor.

     Incumbents Terry Bates of Ward Two, Mary Wilson of Ward Three and Shirley Estes of Ward Four are also assured seats around the board table.

     The outcome of the Ward Six and alderman at large races still awaits until June 4.

     Cameron will continue to sit on the board through the end of June, with Belcher taking his seat, along with other new officials, in July.

     Said Belcher, “As of tomorrow, I’m ready.”