By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Former mayor Larry Hart defeated incumbent Bill Norris in the Democratic Primary Tuesday to take back the city’s top elected position.
Hart received 551 votes to Norris’s 269 votes, winning in each of the town’s four wards, according to the unofficial vote count Tuesday night. The election is expected to be certified within 48 hours, according to City Clerk Vivian Snider.
A third mayoral candidate Robbie Ashford only got 113 votes, which weren’t enough to throw the race into a runoff. Hart had served 12 years as Mayor when Norris defeated him in 2005. After the defeat, Hart said in a thank you to the citizens of Water Valley, “As far as my future political activity, I see opportunity in government at the state level, the county level, and the city level.”
The rematch was arguably the most talked about contest, but it still only attracted 933 votes which is 156 less than the 2005 total of 1,089 cast.
Donald Gray defeated Don Simoneaux by a 572 to 334 vote to take the at-large seat. Both are political newcomers.
Bobby Cox took the Ward One Alderman’s race with 145 votes votes compared to incumbent Charles L. Harris’s 123 votes in a rematch from 2005.Harris was able to beat back a challenge in 2005, winning by six votes in that election.
Cox had previously served as Ward Four alderman for two terms beginning in 1981.
In Ward Two, Fred White was unopposed. White, who has held that position since 1987, received 145 votes and his ward and is the only incumbent who will remain in office.
Phillip Tallant will face Rubye Carr May 19 in a runoff for the Ward Three seat after only receiving 41 percent of the vote. Tallant got 105 votes to Carr’s 100. Third candidate Jeff Welch got 46 votes. A fourth candidate, Kagan Coughlin dropped out of the race after moving out of the Ward but still received five votes.
The closest match in Tuesday’s election was the bid for Ward Four Alderman. With all affadavit andcounted, Larry Bell had a two-vote victory over Terry Allen Jr., 120 to 118. Both are political newcomers.
Allen told Snider Tuesday night that he would ask for a recount. The recount is expected to take place Wednesday.
However, Allen said Wednesday that after he learned that the votes had been counted three times at the polling place, he has withdrawn his request for a recount.
Snider estimated that 80were cast in the election, a number that was significantly up from four years earlier. The City Clerk also said only a handful of affadavit votes were cast.