Congratulations to all the winners and runoff candidates of yesterday's Bessemer elections, even to those who had to dupe their constituents in order to win. You know who you are.
And a note to those who were elected (or who may still be elected): you will be held accountable these next 4 years. The council will be more functional, and citizens interest will remain higher.
As for the mayor's race, Ken Gulley had a good showing with 2,112 votes, or 37%. He will be in a runoff with Ed May, whose 1, 312 represented only 23% of the voters who want Bessemer to continue on the path it is currently on.
Out of 5,637 people who voted in the mayor's race 4,325 voters did not want Ed May to return to office. That doesn't mean the runoff will be smooth sailing for Gulley, but optimism for him, and for the city, is inevitable.
Council district 1 - David Vance - winner (a positive change for the city)
Council district 2 - runoff - Chester Porter and Sherrina Rice - this will be positive change for the city if Chester Porter wins. Remember when John McCain was running for president and it his candidacy was labelled Bush's third term? Think of Rice as a continuation of Louise Alexander.
Council district 3 - Sarah Belcher - winner - this does nothing for our city
Council district 4 - Donna Thigpen - winner - let's just hope that she comes around on the school board money owed by the city. Other than that issue, I think she will be an upgrade to the council, and will help to return the body to civility.
Council district 5 - runoff - Ron Marshall and Albert Soles - Marshall got 7% more of the votes that the incumbent. I predict he can hold on to win the runoff. Ron Marshall has wanted to put his management skills to work for our city for a long time.
Council district 6 - Jesse Matthews - winner - the only incumbent with a recommendation from the Progressive coalition, and in part because we were frightened of his opponent, Ed May II. The voters must have felt the same way as he only got 18% of the vote. I think Ed May II's poor showing is a direct result of how the voters feel about his father.
Council district 7 - runoff - Earl Cochran and Cleo King - Cleo has a mountain to climb to reach 50% but the voters who cast their lot for Labrenda for the most part don't appreciate Earl, the man who beat their favorite 4 years ago. So if they come back out to vote, they may chose Cleo King. Let's hope they do.
School Board - Hattie Aikerson retains her seat and Earlene Cochran wins the other open seat. I don't have a lot of insight on how this will affect the board, but we can't expect too much change with only one new member. However, is much change needed? The board, for the most part, is doing a good job.
I will be writing about the candidates who are still in the running until the runoff in October. But for the next few days, I get to take some time off from politics. For the candidates, they had better be out there today, courting voters.