Five seek mayor’s office, every local race but one has opposition

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Qualifying for the upcoming municipal elections ended Tuesday, but the campaigning is just beginning. The election will take place Tuesday, Aug. 23 and any run-off elections will be held Tuesday, Oct. 4.

In the city of Selma, five candidates qualified to run for mayor (i denotes incumbent):

*Selma City Councilman Gregory “Greg” Bjelke, who won a special election in 2011 to complete Monica Newton’s term representing Ward 3. A year later, Bjelke was reelected without opposition to a full four-year term.

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*Mayor George Evans (i), who was first elected in 2008 and has served two terms. He was elected Selma’s first black city council president in 2000 and became the first African American superintendent of the Dallas County Schools System in 1994.

*Jerria Martin, who graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2013 and is an ordained Baptist minister. She runs a ministry called Circle of Hope and teaches religion at Wallace Community College Selma.

*Darrio Melton, who has represented Selma in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2010. He was reelected in 2014. His District 67 includes all of Dallas County as well as Marion and the western part of Perry County.

*Former Mayor James Perkins, who served two terms from 2000 to 2008. Perkins made history in 2000 when he was elected as the city’s first black mayor.

The Selma City Council will also hold elections for its eight wards and for its council president position. There will be at least three new members of the Selma City Council. Two members — Cecil Williamson in ward 1 and Benny Ruth Crenshaw in ward 7 — did not seek reelection. Bjelke, who currently represents Ward 3, is running for mayor.

Here are the candidates that have qualified in those races:

*Council President — Corey Bowie (i), Tremayne Gorden, Lydia Chatmon

*Ward 1 — Carl Bowline, Uleter Nix

*Ward 2 — Susan Keith (i), Christie Thomas

*Ward 3 — Frank Driskell, Miah Tolbert-Jackson, Sylvia Smith, Brenda “B.J.” Smothers, Leodis Strong, Regina Woods

*Ward 4 — Angela Benjamin (i), Dowanda Pullom, Joyce Whitely

*Ward 5 — Nadine Sturdivant, Samuel “Sam” Randolph (i)

*Ward 6 — Johnnie Leashore, Lydia Pettway, Benny Tucker (i)

*Ward 7 — William Brown, Debra Reeves-Howard, Rotissa Jones, James “Jamie” Martin, Jesse “Jack” Shannon, Patricia Stewart, Jannie Thomas

*Ward 8 — Michael Johnson (i)

The Selma City School Board of Education will also hold elections for its five districts. Frank Chestnut, who currently presides over district 3, is the only incumbent not running for reelection.

*School Board Chairman — Henry Hicks Sr. (i), Johnny E. Moss III

*Selma BOE District 1 — Kirit D. Chapatwala (i), Bailey H. Dawson Sr., Danielle Wooten

*Selma BOE District 2 — Brenda Obomanu (i), Jeffery J. Strong

*Selma BOE District 3 —Nancy R. Bennett, Phyllis M. Houser, Lola Sewell

*Selma BOE District 4 — Udo F. Ufomadu (i), Tanya S. Miles

In Valley Grande, mayor Wayne Labbe will not seek reelection. Labbe cited his age Tuesday when he decided to withdraw his name from consideration.

Here are the candidates for Valley Grande mayor and city council:

*Mayor — Matt Dobbs, Barry Hilliman

*City Council Place 1 — Tim White (i)

*City Council Place 2 — Victoria Calhoun, Ronald Sawyer (i)

*City Council Place 3 — Mary Hilliman, Lamar Morgan

*City Council Place 4 — Tammy Troha

*City Council Place 5 — Jimmy Johnson

Numerous attempts to reach Orrville City Hall and Mayor Louvenia Lumpkin were unsuccessful Tuesday.

There is still time for anyone wanting to get registered to vote in the election.

The last day to register to vote will be Aug. 8, which is 15 days prior to the election. The last day to apply for a regular absentee ballot will be Aug. 18, five days prior to the election.