Special election: Officials hoping to avoid runoff

Published 11:19 pm Monday, May 23, 2011

Today’s special election to fill the vacant Ward 3 seat on the Selma City Council could either end a months-long process, or simply open the door to another six weeks of grueling campaigning.

With eight candidates vying for the seat left open when Dr. Monica Newton and her family moved, there is a good chance for a runoff election between the two candidates who receive the most votes.

“I really hope we are able to end this once and for all and avoid a runoff,” Olde Towne Association president Norm Trotter said. “Ward 3 has gone long enough without representation. But, if we have to go to July 5, then so be it.”

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Selma Mayor Geroge Evans is also hoping for today’s vote to come to a definitive decision.

“I really hope a majority of voters come together and settle on one candidate and avoid a runoff,” Evans said. “But, with eight candidates, I would say there is better than a 50 percent chance that we will have a runoff.”

When polls open at one of the two polling places at 7 a.m., registered Ward 3 voters will have a long list of candidates to choose from.

“I just hope the person who is elected to this seat is ready to sit down and go about the business of the city,” Ward 4 councilmember Angela Benjamin said. “The person needs to have the best interests of their ward and the city of Selma in mind when they take their seat.”

One polling place is set up at the Christian Outreach Alliance at 700 J.L. Chestnut Blvd. and the other is set up in the Dallas County Courthouse. Polls will close at 7 p.m. and the results will be tallied at Selma City Hall.

The results will then be canvassed and approved by the Selma City Council at their next council meeting, which has been moved to Tuesday, May 31. The council’s original meeting had been set for Tuesday evening, but was moved.

For Trotter, he hopes voters in Ward 3 understand the importance of today’s vote, and, based on what he has heard from his fellow citizens, he is optimistic.

“I have been very pleased with the level of interest in this special election — not just on the part of the candidates — but the residents,” Trotter said.

Trotter said he was encouraged by the efforts of the candidates, who he saw out working for last minute support, in his neighborhood.

“I saw one candidate this evening working, going door-to-door,” Trotter said. “And it wasn’t just one, it was nearly all of them. They have all been working hard and that’s encouraging.

“I hope that those who lose, still want to be active in this community. Together, they make up one heck of a committee to work on behalf of these neighborhoods.”

The eight candidates seeking the office are Greg Bjelke, Gwen Brown, Garfield Clarke, David Cothran, Tom Headley, Karl Lewis, Sherrette Spicer and Pam West.