Incumbents return, campaigns continue

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

While the office of mayor may have been soundly won by Jim Staff, two city council districts remain contested and will head for a runoff on Oct. 9.

In District 4, Susan Smith received 240 votes, Larry Houck received 217 votes, and Phil Johnson received 51 votes. The contest was so close that Smith and Houck will have to get voters back to the polls in October.

“I feel great. All I can say is just I’ve got more work to do,” Smith said. “I’ve got to get people out to vote.”

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Houck said he was impressed by the turnout given the threat of Hurricane Isaac. Houck said he knows he still has one more round, but he is still working on a specific strategy.

“We’re not real sure what the exact game plan is yet. We’re especially proud of the turnout today. We had a great turnout,” Houck said. “It’s great to see that many people turn out today in this kind of weather. That’s encouraging. That’s good for Atmore.”

Chris Harrison and Michael Arnold will face each other in a runoff in District 5. Harrison received 106 votes, Arnold received 70 votes, Gregg Akins received 61 votes, and Sandra Gray received 40 votes.

Arnold said he didn’t blame the weather for the results, but said he is optimistic that he can get more votes in October when the weather will be nicer and people are more likely to vote.

“We’re just gonna have to go back to the drawing board,” Arnold said. “My plan for the city of Atmore is to improve District 5. I want to be a voice for District 5.”

Harrison said he is also optimistic but knows he still has a lot of work ahead.

“I’m gonna go back and visit with as many people as I can and let them know some of the things I’m going to do for them. I’ll have to work for them,” Harrison said. “I feel good about the momentum I’ve had. I appreciate everyone that’s come out.”

Meanwhile, incumbents Cornell Torrence and Webb Nall were not taking anything for granted. Torrence won the city council seat for District 2, and Nall won the city council seat for District 1.

“I’m ecstatic about people getting together and deciding to elect me to office for four more years,” Torrence said. “I’m tickled to death. I’d like to thank everybody who voted for me.”

Torrence finished with 129 votes, while challenger Thomas McNeal received 99 votes.

Nall received 177 votes, while district one challenger Chad Thrower received 80 votes.

“Boy, I’m elated,” Nall said. “I appreciate the confidence and show of support.”

Nall said he believes his experience played a key role in his re-election. His top goals are to see growth in industry, continue to develop Rivercane, and to improve the streets of the city.

District three was unopposed, so Chris Walker will retain his council seat.