Johnson, council win big

Published 1:40 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Andalusians affirmed that they are happy with their city government Tuesday, returning all incumbents seeking reelection to office with strong margins.

Incumbent Earl Johnson got 66 percent of the votes cast in the mayor’s race, or 1,540 votes to challenger Blaine Wilson’s 810.

“I think this says the people of Andalusia are affirming that we’ve done a good job in the past four years,’ Johnson said “I think this is an affirmation of what we’ve done and accomplished in the last four years.”

Johnson said voters delivered a two-fold message.

Mayor Earl Johnson and his wife, Sylvia, after results were announced.

“I think they want us to move forward in the same manner that we have in the past four years,” he said. “It also sends a demand for candidates to run races that match up with the people in Andalusia.”

District 1 incumbent Councilman Will Sconiers defeated former council member Bridges Anderson by a similar margin, 63 percent to 3 percent.

District 2 incumbent Councilman Kennith Mount won by the largest margin, receiving 74 percent of the votes cast.

“I was humbled by the support in District 2,” Mount said. “I appreciate all of the people who worked for me and spent countless hours on my election campaign. I congratulate my opponent on a clean race.”

Mount had 331 votes while his challenger, Duane O’Neal, also a former council member, received 118 votes, or 26 percent.

District 3 Councilwoman Hazel Griffin, who won election by one vote four years ago, is the apparent winner again, although her race could be affected by provisional ballots.

Griffin said she felt voters affirmed the work she and other members of the current administration have done over the last four years.

“That’s what I’ve heard while I’ve been campaigning,” she said.

Griffin said she was pleased when she woke up and saw sunshine, and even happier when she had the privilege of driving a 90-year-old to the polls.

“It has been a great day,” she said.

The lone newcomer for the new administration, which takes office in November, is District 4’s Ralph Wells, who defeated Johnny Godwin 436 to 194, earning 69 percent of the votes cast.

“I was overwhelmed and humbled by the whole experience,” Wells said.

He expressed the highest regard for Godwin, whom he described as a gentleman

“I look forward to hearing his ideas, and taking them, along with the ideas of others in my district, to the council table,” Wells said.

District 5 incumbent Terry Powell was unopposed.

Wilson said he expected voter turnout to be higher.

“Looking at it, I understand historically there are about this many votes cast,” he said. “I felt there would be about 200 or 300 additional votes this time.”

He said he believed negativity in the mayor’s race and the mindset of those focused on the possibility of a tropical storm might have affected turnout.

But he said he was not surprised by results of that vote.

“I am still very concerned about city’s future. I am also very concerned about the financial future,” he said. “I have a child and a business here.”

He said he stands by an early campaign statement that he believes every candidate should have opposition and that every citizen should have a choice.

“I just hope our community can heal from the election,” Wilson said. “It’s best for everyone concerned if we move on.

“Whatever perception they have of me, if I have failed them in any way, I hope they’ll give me an opportunity to regain that,” he said.

Johnson expressed his appreciation to city employees who worked to ensure the election ran smoothly.

“The City of Andalusia staff worked hard to make sure things ran smoothly, and to accommodate the requests of voters, absentees, and candidates’ requests.”

He also expressed his appreciation to supporters.

“First, to my wife, Sylvia, what a partner,” Johnson said. “She’s one of those people who if she can’t find something good to say, won’t comment. My daughters and their families couldn’t be here, but they’ve kept up and supported us. I thank them.

“To the supporters who took time to go out and vote and who worked with us, I appreciate them, too.”