Mayor, incumbent council reelected
Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
Atmore voters sent Mayor Howard Shell and all five incumbent council members back to office for another four years.
Shell trounced his opposition by a huge margin, winning his fifth term in office with 995 votes. The next closest candidate was Anthony Bishop Williams with 217 votes. Greg Russell pulled in 119 votes in his bid for the mayor's office, and Bill Stuckey claimed 92 votes.
The closest race of the election was a mirror of the 2000 election in District 1. Webb Nall again defeated Jerry Gehman in the closest race of the day, but this time, Nall was the incumbent and Gehman the challenger. This year, however, Nall's margin of victory was larger. Nall took in 193 votes with Gehman taking 153 votes in this election. The previous contest between the two was determined by 17 votes. This year, the margin was 40 votes.
Louie Turner III outpaced challenger Sam Holley for the District 3 seat 126-57.
John Garrard locked up his District 4 seat with 340 votes. Challenger and former K-Mart store manager Randal Shuttlesworth took 86 votes in the race.
John Watkins and Jim Staff were unopposed in this election. Watkins returns to the District 2 seat and Staff returns to the District 5 seat.
Despite a day of clear skies, the voter turnout for city elections was low at 30 percent. The turnout was lower than the 2000 election by 310 votes.
A crowd of about 60 people, including all the candidates, gathered at Atmore City Hall to see the results. City Clerk Becca Smith read aloud the results that were called in from polling places around Atmore.
"I'd like to say something to all the candidates," Shell said above the din. "I want you to know this town appreciates you stepping up to the plate…it makes us all a little more accountable to the people we serve."
Despite the loss, Russell vowed to run again. "I'm disappointed in the turnout," Russell said. "I wish more people would take an interest in these elections. I want to thank the supporters and I am planning to run again in four years."
When the results were read and the fate of his race determined, Shuttlesworth reached out to shake the hand of his opponent and congratulate Garrard on the win. "We'd like to thank the citizens of District 4, my wife Sandy, my family and Jamie McGhee for their help," Shuttlesworth said. "God bless and thanks."
Garrard said he looks forward serving another four years with the mayor and council. "I appreciate the people of District 4. They elected me because they know how I love Atmore. We have exciting things coming," he said.
In Brewton, Ann Marie Sasser defeated incumbent Dennis Dunaway for the District 1 council. Incumbent Cary Barton beat Homer Hamilton for the District 3 council seat. In District 4, incumbent Jake Lewis defeated Lawrence V. Jolly Sr. A runoff will determine the winner of the District 5 seat. Incumbent Mervin Huff will meet challenger Henry Uptagraft in the runoff. Challenger Fred Barton is out of the race.
Mayor Ted Jennings and District 2 councilman Frank Cotton ran unopposed.
Incumbent East Brewton mayor Terry Clark will face opponent Charles Fountain in a run-off.
Three of East Brewton's five city council positions will also be decided by a run-off. Place 1 incumbent Huey Johnson will face Bob Arrant.
Incumbent Kenny Hultz and Priscilla West will meet in a run-off for Place 2.
Place 5 incumbent Bettie Jordan will face Wayne Howard in a run-off.
Clear winners in East Brewton were Place 3 incumbent Byron Palmer who beat Debi Steadman, and Place 4 candidate Henry Hooks who beat incumbent Dewayne King.
Flomaton elected Dewey Bondurant Jr. mayor over opponents Joe Brantley and incumbent Kay Wagner. Also, for Flomaton's city council District 1 place, John Sansom beat out incumbent Lula Graves.
In the town of Pollard's elections, William Baldwin beat out incumbent Claude Moton for Place 1, and Valeria Osby beat incumbent Marion Collins for Place 2