City Clerk Lesa Hardin, right, and P.C. McLaurin, both part of the Starkville Municipal Election Commission, read absentee ballots at City Hall for the Ward 2 alderman race. Sandra Sistrunk defeated incumbent Lisa Wynn to reclaim the seat. Photo by: Sarah Dutton/Dispatch Staff
From left, Sandra Sistrunk, Ben Carver, Henry Vaughn and Jason Walker
Ben Needham, adviser for Mayor-elect Lynn Spruill's and alderman candidate Sandra Sistrunk's campaigns, gathers committee members and supporters of the recent alderman election during a celebratory evening at Beef O' Brady's for a quick memorable photo as other party members watch the photo come together and continue to enjoy the evening.
Photo by: Sarah Dutton/Dispatch Staff
June 7, 2017 11:22:14 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Former Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk will return to her seat in July after she defeated incumbent Lisa Wynn by 16 votes Tuesday.
Wynn's defeat was the only instance of a sitting alderman losing their position in the general election.
Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn both secured third terms in contrasting races.
Carver, a Republican, defeated Democrat Christine Williams in the day's closest contest -- 349-343 -- while Vaughn, a Democrat, beat Republican Roben Dawkins 256-80.
"As one of the few GOP candidates to be elected to office, I'm appreciative of and humbled by my supporters," Carver said. "We're really going to buckle down on economic development (in the next term). The $390 million in growth the city has seen while I've been in office -- I want to double that."
A call to Vaughn went unanswered Tuesday.
In Ward 2, Sistrunk, a Democrat, spoiled Wynn's independent bid for a second term by a 182-166 margin, while Republican Jesse Carver took in 69 votes.
Sistrunk led Wynn by only one vote (165-164) before claiming 17 of the 19 absentee ballots election officials accepted in the race.
"I'm glad the people of Ward 2 had their voices heard. This is the result of months of working hard, going door-to-door visiting with people and getting to know the voters, and I look forward to continuing to do that and working to get things done," Sistrunk said. "I plan to work on the things I've been talking about with people over the last several months -- the ideas of taking care of our infrastructure, expanding economic development opportunities and making sure Starkville lives up to its potential of being the best city in Mississippi."
Wynn took issue with a pro-Sistrunk advertisement sent out to voters before the election, claiming the mailer -- which said the former Democrat abandoned the party by shedding her affiliation in an independent bid and now supports "Trump Republicans" -- contained "manufactured lies" and "only targeted African-American voters" in Ward 2.
"It's very sad that something of this magnitude would be used in an election. It's packed with a bunch of lies, and I know for a fact this alienated many of my voters," Wynn said. "I enjoy being a public servant, and this is not the end for me."
Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker also secured a second term, as the Democrat fended off his Republican challenger, Pete Ledlow, 210-102.
Ward 3 Alderman David Little, Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins, Ward 5 Alderman-elect Patrick Miller and Mayor-elect Lynn Spruill also won their respective seats after receiving votes in uncontested races.
"I have contacted all the winning candidates this evening and expressed my pleasure at the opportunity to work with each of them," said Spruill, who secured the mayor's post in a tightly contested May 16 Democratic primary runoff. "I look forward to a very cordial working relationship over the next four years."
Tuesday's unofficial totals include absentee ballots but do not include affidavits. Election workers will process those votes Wednesday.
None of the four contested races had enough affidavit ballots to change their respective results.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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