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Victors celebrate election wins

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

COVINGTON -- Covington City Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams handily won a second term Tuesday night.

"Hallelujah!" Williams proclaimed when the results came in, showing that she had won with 62.08 percent of the vote.

A total of 414 votes were cast, with Williams garnering 257 votes to opponent Charles Wilborn's 157 votes.

"I thank the Lord. I thank my team, those who have supported me, even those who do not live in my district ... They believe in what I have done," Williams said.

Williams said she wants to continue to focus on improving housing blight in the city. She is a member of the city's housing team that created the Urban Redevelopment Plan and established the new Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Williams previously said that if elected she would also focus on economic development, increase pedestrian connectivity to businesses and services by adding more sidewalks and look at public transportation and other ways to reduce road congestion.

"I tend not to focus on any particular interest group. I represent not only this district but the entire city, and people have been receptive to me," she said.

Wilborn, who held the post for 14 years before he lost his bid for re-election to Williams in 2005, said Tuesday's loss won't be the end of his political aspirations.

"I was proud to have been able to get out and meet the people. I learned a lot. The way I look at it, a winner never quits and a quitter never wins and that's me. There will be another time around," he said.

Current Councilwoman Ocie Franklin and political newcomer Chris Smith were elected to Post 3, West Ward and Post 1, East Ward, respectively, with no opposition.

Voter turnout was very light at only 8.6 percent, according to Board of

Elections Director Donna Morrison.

Porterdale

Incumbent Lowell Chambers won a decisive victory over challenger Andy Grimes for the Post 5 seat on the Porterdale City Council Tuesday night, with 87 percent of the vote.

Chambers was elected to a four-year term with 46 votes, while Grimes received 7. According to City Manager and Elections Superintendent Tom Fox, there were no ballots cast in advance or absentee voting in the city.

There were two other unopposed races on Porterdale's ballot. Incumbent Post 3 Councilwoman Arline Chapman was re-elected to her second term with 44 votes, and incumbent Mike Harper was re-elected to the Post 4 seat with 40 votes.

Two write-in ballots were cast for former mayor Wayne Maddox and Vickie Maddox.

Although City Council members represent designated posts, all are elected at-large.

Turnout in the election was light, with slightly less than 6 percent of Porterdale's 892 registered voters casting a ballot. All the paper ballots had been counted 20 minutes after the polls closed, and votes had been tallied about 10 minutes after that.

"I look forward to working for the city of Porterdale for the next four years," said Chambers following completion of the ballot count.

Chambers, who was elected in a March special election to fill the unexpired term of former Councilwoman Kay Piper, said he has a better idea now of what to expect as a City Council representative.

"I think we've got a lot of good projects to be working on, and I have a positive expectation for our community's future," he said.

Oxford

In Oxford, newcomer Sue Dale will fill the Post 4 seat that was vacated by Emma Lou Patterson.

According to unofficial results Tuesday night, she took the seat with almost 74 percent of the votes -- she received 115 of 156 votes, while opponent Tillie Mitchell received 40 votes.

"I'm so excited," said Dale, 52, human resources manager at Oxford College. "I'm very appreciative towards the citizens for their confidence in me and voting me in. I enjoy working with Mayor (Jerry) Roseberry and the council."

Dale, who has lived in Oxford for three years and wrote grants for the city, said she looks forward to providing a fresh perspective on the council.

Using her 20 years of health care operation management and experience in strategic planning and budgeting, she is interested in leading the city through sustainability, recycling and making the community a more walkable city. She said this is in line with many of the citizens' goals of remaining a small town while also growing and progressing Oxford.

Dale's husband Brian is pastor of Allen Memorial United Methodist Church. Their son Michael, who helped develop the Web site for the city of Oxford, is a graduate of Oxford College, and their son David is a senior at Newton High School this year.

Newborn

In Newborn's three-way race for mayor, Roger Sheridan emerged as the winner with slightly more than 50 percent of the votes, compared to 22 percent for James King and 28 percent for incumbent J.W. Cummings.

The vote tally was 47 for Sheridan, 26 votes for Cummings and 20 for King.

"With a new council and mayor in January, we thank the present council for their hard work and look forward to a smooth transition," Sheridan said after the election. "We thank the citizens of Newborn and look forward to their input and help during our term."

Cummings, who has served as mayor for a total of 12 years and as a council member for four years, said he was not disappointed by the outcome of the election.

"I'll just go fishing more," he said.

In Newborn's only other opposed race, Martha Ellwanger defeated incumbent Wanda Cummings, wife of the mayor, with 56 votes to 31.

"I'm looking forward to serving the town as councilwoman," Ellwanger said. "I feel that there's a lot of work ahead of us, but with a new mayor and a new team we'll have an energy and an excitement about the work ahead. I'm sure it will be a smooth transition, and I thank the current mayor and council for their hard work."

The other three races on Newborn's ballot were unopposed. Gene Downs won Post 1 with 63 votes; John Donaldson won Post 2 with 64 votes; and Thomas Krieger took Post 3 with 67 votes.

A total of 95 votes was cast in the election, including four absentee ballots. Newborn's turnout was larger than in all other municipal elections in Newton County, with 27 percent of the town's 346 registered voters going to the polls.

Sheridan, Downs, Donaldson, Krieger and Ellwanger had the unusual strategy of running as a team during the campaign, putting out pamphlets stating their joint goals for the town.

Beginning this year, Newborn is adopting staggered terms. To get on track with that schedule, Downs and Donaldson will serve two-year terms, while Krieger and Ellwanger will serve four-year terms.

Editor Alice Queen and staff reporter Michelle Floyd contributed to this story.