by A.C. Hall
After a long campaign that extended to a runoff election, the White Settlement election season has finally come to a close with Ronald A. White defeating incumbent Jerry Burns to become the new Mayor of the City of White Settlement. White won with 396 votes versus the 360 votes of Burns.
The Grizzly Detail spoke with White after the final numbers came in cementing his victory.
“I want to ensure everyone that everything is going to be open and above board in the City Council and things will be run in a more professional manor,” White said.
White also touched upon something his recent political ads have addressed.
“People will be treated with respect, women especially will be treated with respect,” White said. White stated he believes outgoing Mayor Jerry Burns and others have been rude and disrespectful to some people who show up to council meetings and that this behavior has kept many people from attending meetings.
The lack of involvement in the local government is also something that White spoke about with The Grizzly Detail after his victory.
“I want to encourage women and young people in this city to become more involved in their city government and come to the council meetings and get involved, get on the city boards, and be a part of their own government,” White said.
White’s victory in the runoff election comes after Burns led 864 votes to the 671 votes for White in the general election on Nov. 4, but with a third party in the race at that time Burns missed hitting the needed fifty percent of the vote to be declared the winner. That pushed the race to a runoff between White and Burns where White won with 52 percent of the votes.
In the race for Council Place 1, Paul Moore and Johnny Powell were separated by just 7 votes in early voting. The 145 election day voters swung the race, however, delivering victory to Moore who won by just 12 votes with 381 votes to the 369 votes for Powell. Incumbent Gene Hatcher did not run for re-election, and now his seat will be claimed by Moore.
The Grizzly Detail spoke to Moore shortly after the election results were finalized.
“I’d just like to thank all the people that came out to vote,” Moore said.
Moore said he will encourage anyone in the city who has problems or questions to approach him, and that he’ll work along with city staff to try to have their issues addressed. He also shared some thoughts about Hatcher, who leaves the council after serving two terms.
“I’d like to thank Gene Hatcher, who gave six years of service to this city and did an outstanding job,” Moore said.
Like Burns, Moore enjoyed a general election lead of over 100 votes on his nearest competitor, but the race also contained a third party and Moore’s lead wasn’t enough to hit the needed fifty percent. The contest then moved forward to Tuesday’s runoff election, where Moore won with 51 percent of the votes.
Getting general election voters to return to the polls to vote in runoff elections has long been a challenge for candidates. This year the numbers show that 1,813 ballots were cast in the general election, but 756 were cast in the runoff election. That means that less than half of the voters who came out for the November general election returned to the polls for the runoff election.