No One Came – City Run-Off Election, December 2011

Last week I posed the question, “What if they held an election and no one came?” Essentially, that is very close to what happened last Saturday. A mere 6% of voters managed to cast their ballots with almost half of them cast in early voting.

With this low of a turnout, anything can happen but one thing is certain: Those whose supporters are the most avid will manage to get themselves to vote. Suffice it to say that the irritated voters ruled the day on Saturday.

In District A, Helena Brown had many supporters who were irritated with Incumbent Brenda Stardig. They were passionate in their indignation and they turned out strongly to defeat her. Thus, Brown won the election. Brown will bring a new and different perspective to the Council table. She has been an active member of the Tea Party and ran against Parker but also on a strong business platform.

District B is a little harder to explain but it seems that a bit of an anti-incumbency mood prevailed there as well. Alvin Byrd had all the support of area elected officials, civic and church leaders. Yet, JerryDavis, a fresh-face to the game, defeated him by a very narrow margin. As in District A, voters seemed to reject the sameness and go with a new face. This has ended a long tenure of the Galloway/Johnson control of this seat. However, the Davis family is also an active and engaged partner in the community and this continues the tradition of familial strength for that area.

These two district races had an impact on the At-Large races. The Helena Brown supporters in District A seemed to have cast their ballots for Jack Christie in At-Large 5 which helped bolster him to defeat Incumbent Jolanda Jones. However, Jones did not fair well among many voters and was handily defeated.

The most intriguing race of the election was in At-Large 2 where Andrew Burks upset expected winner, Kristie Thibault. Burks has been a perennial candidate but this was his year. He very narrowly defeated Thibault but has secured his seat on City Council.

This year was precedent-setting in the 20 year saga of Term Limits. Two Incumbents were defeated – one just finishing her first term and the other finishing her second term. This has not happened previously. It may make incumbents more aware that it is not a given you will automatically serve for a full 6 years. Or, it may have just been an unusual election.

In any case, we have 7 new Council Members to represent the City. It should be noted that the 7 appear to be very diverse philosophically and personally. Some will be strong supporters of the Parker administration while others will be constantly challenging the status quo.

Council should be very interesting in 2012/2013. Set those DVR’s to watch the meetings on HTV or go to the website for your weekly entertainment.

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