STARKVILLE — At least two incumbents regained their seats on the board of aldermen after Tuesday’s general election, while a newcomer will represent Ward 4.
Ward 1’s election is still too close to call, but incumbent Republican Ben Carver holds a 13-vote lead over Democrat Christine Williams with 15 affidavits to process today.
With election day and absentee votes tallied, Carver built a 319-306 advantage in his rematch with Williams. He defeated her in 2017 by only six votes.
Affidavits, or provisional ballots, come from prospective voters whose address, registration or some other qualifying element was unclear when they arrived at the polls. Each will be processed by the city election commission. Those deemed valid will then be opened and counted.
“I want to extend an olive branch to everyone in Ward 1 and let them know that I work for everybody,” Carver told The Dispatch. “I just want us to grow Ward 1 together.”
Williams told The Dispatch she would reserve comment on the race until after the affidavits are processed.
In Ward 5, incumbent Hamp Beatty defeated Republican challenger Anna Chaney in the race that saw the highest voter turnout.
Beatty leads 272-254, with too few affidavits to process to change the result. This will be Beatty’s first full term as alderman after winning a special election in 2019.
“I’m ready to roll,” Beatty said. “I’m ready to hit the ground running. It’s very exciting. It’s a pleasure for the people to have the confidence in me to serve on their behalf. I want to make our city a better place to live. I just can’t wait to do that this next term.”
Chaney, who won her primary race against Republican candidate Brady Hindman in April, beat Beatty by nine votes cast on election day. That could not overcome the 49-22 advantage the incumbent built with absentees.
“I would just challenge Mr. Beatty to be an alderman for every single person who voted today and to maybe look at some of the things that we could improve on,” Chaney said of the close race. “I would just challenge him to really be an alderman for Starkville, for everybody and not just one specific group or agenda.”
The Ward 4 election, the only race without an incumbent, went to Democratic candidate Mike Brooks, who currently chairs the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He defeated Republican Kevin Daniels by a 202-149 margin.
“I’m excited that my supporters came out and voted today,” Brooks said. “It was a clean campaign on both sides.”
Daniels, who won his primary in April against Republican Austin Check, said despite losing, he feels he ran a good campaign.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re going to move forward and hopefully have a successful board of aldermen,” Daniels said.
Sandra Sistrunk will serve Ward 2 for another term, defeating Republican Brice Stubbs by a 187-148 margin. Sistrunk won her primary against Democratic candidate Jimmy Joe Buckley and said running not one, but two campaigns paid off in the end.
“I have been honored to serve the people of Ward 2 and the people of Starkville these last four years,” Sistrunk said. “I am looking forward to the next four years. We’ve gotten a lot accomplished, but we have a lot left to do. I’m just thrilled to be a part of that.”
While voter turnout Tuesday was higher compared to April’s primary election, Stubbs said he believes many Starkville residents do not vote in local elections because they are “comfortable” with where they are.
“I wish we had a little better turnout,” Stubbs said. “All in all, I enjoyed myself and enjoyed the whole campaign experience and getting to know my neighbors was great.”
A total of 2,132 ballots were counted Tuesday across all races, including those uncontested. Only 23 affidavits remain and possibly some absentee ballots could arrive over the next week. Starkville City Clerk Lesa Hardin said. But aside from Ward 1, those ballots will not affect the outcome of the races.