STARKVILLE — Starkville City Hall was bustling Tuesday night as city officials, candidates and supporters alike gathered to wait on election results.
And in the end, one thing became clear: The city of Starkville soon will have a new mayor.
Matt Cox and Parker Wiseman were the top two vote-getters in the Democratic mayoral primary Tuesday while incumbent Mayor Dan Camp was a distant third. Because neither Cox nor Wiseman garnered 50 percent of the vote, the pair will face each other again in a runoff election on May 19. Camp was eliminated from the race.
Cox received 1,430 votes, or 42.85 percent, while Wiseman received 1,250 votes, or 37.46 percent. Camp received 652 votes, or 19.54 percent.
The winner of the runoff between Cox and Wiseman will face the lone Republican in the mayor”s race, Marnita Henderson, during the general election on June 2.
Contacted after results came in, Camp said he was grateful for the time he”s served in office.
“I thank the citizens of Starkville for the privilege of running the city the last four years,” Camp said. “I feel we”ve made some progress and I feel like we”ve set the stage for the next mayor to come in and continue on with a lot of these things that we”ve started. I wish the next mayor the best of luck.”
Cox and Wiseman both were cautiously optimistic about their chances in the runoff election two weeks from now.
“We”re very excited about where we are,” Wiseman said. “We will sleep for a couple of hours tonight and then it”s on to the runoff. At this point, we have a two-week clock that is ticking and we feel very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of some strong momentum going right now, and we will be out there doing everything we can to make sure that momentum continues to snowball over the next two weeks.”
“The question in this election is and always has been: Do you like what you”re getting right now, and do you want four more years of it?” Wiseman added. “Alderman Cox has been one of the most outspoken leaders in this city over the last four years. People can choose for a continuation of that or they can choose change.”
Cox, who now serves as Ward 5 alderman but opted against a re-election bid so he could run for mayor, was pleased that he received the most votes in the race. He also feels confident heading into the general election.
“This election is about three things: It”s about trust, it”s about experience, and it”s about vision,” Cox said. “Of course, I do have the experience because I”ve been working on the board and I”m pretty active here in the community. But it”s not just about that experience. It”s about a vision for Starkville that”s inclusive. It includes the entire city. It”s focused on bringing manufacturing jobs so we can afford a middle class. And I”m proud of some of the things we”ve already accomplished here in Starkville and I hope to continue those things (if elected mayor.)”