Bowie reelected in close race for council president

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There will be three new members of the Selma City Council, but the president position won’t be changing hands.

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie will return for a second term after edging challenger Lydia Chatmon during Tuesday’s run-off election.

Bowie received 3,396 votes (52 percent) compared to 3,109 (48 percent) for Chatmon.

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“I want to thank the community for giving me another four years,” Bowie said.

“Now it’s time for us to continue to move forward to make this city one of the most progressive cities in the Black Belt.”

Bowie won the absentee votes, ward 1, ward 2 and ward 3, but lost every other ward to Chatmon.

Bowie’s largest win was in ward 1, where he won 706 to 282 and in absentee votes, where he had a 421-190 advantage.

“One thing I’ve learned from the last four years is to continue to be a team player and to continue to … move forward,” Bowie said.

Although he will remain as president, Bowie will be overseeing a city council that saw many changes in the election. Carl Bowline (Ward 1), Miah Tolbert Jackson (Ward 3) and Jannie Thomas (Ward 7) are all new to the council. Former councilman Johnnie Leashore (Ward 6) returns to council.

“I’m going home to get some rest and to start on closing the chapter and starting a new chapter at the same time,” Bowie said.

Chatmon could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Tolbert-Jackson wins close race in Ward 3

In a battle for the open Ward 3 slot, Miah Tolbert-Jackson defeated Regina Woods by a final tally of 493-378.

Tolbert-Jackson edged Woods by 23 votes in the two polling places in Ward 3 and had a decisive advantage in the absentee votes. Tolbert-Jackson won the absentee ballots 109-18.

She said she’s ready to get to work on making Selma a better place to live.

“The first thing I want to do is meet with the constituents,” Tolbert-Jackson said. “I want to have meetings all over our ward to see what they determine to be their No. 1 concern.”

She said people in ward 3 have shared concerns on litter, abandoned homes, pot holes, infrastructure and more.

Tolbert-Jackson will take over Greg Bjelke’s seat. Bjelke gave up his seat to run for Selma’s mayor spot.

Benjamin earns re-election in Ward 4

Incumbent Angela Benjamin was re-elected to a third term on the Selma City Council on Tuesday night.

Benjamin defeated challenger Joyce Whitely 397-316 (56 percent to 44 percent) to win another term. Although she lost to Whitely at the Woodrow Avenue Fire Station, Benjamin dominated the voting totals at the Selma Mall (216-122) and also won the absentee votes (36-16).

“I am thankful to God, thankful to the voters and thankful for the support team that couldn’t even vote for me, but they supported me from afar,” Benjamin said. “I am thankful for every last person that had a hand and a thought on me.”

She’s already got a list of items she’d like to see accomplished in ward 4, including starting a farmer’s market, increasing public safety and infrastructure issues.

Leashore wins council spot

Incumbent B.L. Tucker was seeking his fifth term on the Selma City Council but was defeated by former councilman Johnnie Leashore during Tuesday’s run-off.

Leashore won rather decisively, beating Tucker 470-321 (59 percent to 41 percent). Leashore won both polling stations in ward 6 and also won the absentee votes.

Neither candidate could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Thomas beats Shannon by slimmest of margins in Ward 7

Jannie Thomas defeated Jack Shannon to represent Ward 7 on the Selma City Council and she needed just about every vote she received to do it.

Thomas edged Shannon by only 17 votes, with the final tally at 428-411 (51 percent to 49).

Both candidates dominated one of the two boxes in ward 6.

Thomas won by 81 votes at West Trinity Baptist Church (182 to 101), but at Queen of Peace School Shannon won by 83 votes (295 to 212). The absentee ballots were enough to give Thomas the win, as she won those 34-15.

Neither candidate could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Thomas takes Bennie Ruth Crenshaw’s seat on the council. Crenshaw did not run for re-election.

Wooten wins uncontested race for BOE District 1

Danielle Wooten won an uncontested race for the district one seat on the Selma City Board of Education. Incumbent Kirit Chapatwala withdrew from the race in September.

Moore-Houser tops Sewell for BOE District 3 seat

Phyllis Moore-Houser defeated Lola Sewell in a tightly contested race to win a seat on the Selma City Board of Education. Moore-Houser won by a final tally of 864-781 (53 percent to 47) and won the vote in both ward 3 and ward 8.

Sewell had a large advantage in the absentee ballots (175-38).

“I thank the people for believing in me and having enough confidence in me to allow me to serve them as a school board member,” Moore-Houser said. “I’m kind of overwhelmed right now.”