Two new aldermen – one of them an Independent – have been elected in New Albany.
Tim Kent has been elected to an unprecedented fifth term as the city’s mayor.
Republicans and one Independent take contested races
Parks Smith, a 35-year-old public school teacher, the father of five young children, was elected as an Independent, to serve as Ward 1 Alderman. It has been at least four decades since an Independent was elected to municipal office.
One dependable, long-time political observer told NEMiss.News that Herman Hendrix was elected to the city board as an Independent about 40 years ago. We have not yet been able to confirm that from official sources.
Parks Smith won with 159 votes (56%) over Republican Ashley Kidd, who got 103 votes, and Democrat Jessica M. Winston, who received 24 votes.
In the Ward 2 race to replace long time Alderman Johnny Anderson, businessman David “Drew” Horn, running as a Republican, handily defeated Democrat Tim Johnson. Horn won 194 votes (83%) to just 41 votes for Johnson. Horn had overwhelmingly defeated two other candidates in the GOP primary, so there was no surprise in his lopsided victory.
One of the most closely watched races was that for alderman-at-large. Incumbent Republican Keith Conlee, first elected four years ago, was challenged by long-time newsman J. Lynn West, who ran as an Independent. West is among the best known and most liked people in Union County, having been a working newsman here for more than 40 years. Conlee, a popular incumbent with no significant “negatives,” won the race with 579 votes (67 %) to 278 votes for West.
It was no surprise that Tim Kent, running this time as a Republican, won a fifth four-year term. Kent had been elected to his first four terms as a Democrat, but “jumped the broomstick” and became a Republican during his fourth term. This year Republican Kent got 673 votes (76%) compared to 205 total votes for Democrat challenger James Dean.
Police Chief Chris Robertson, Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Dale White, and Ward 4 Alderman Will Tucker, all running without general election opponents, were, of course, re-elected.
Election results raise interesting questions
Without breaking a sweat campaigning, Tim Kent won just as handily as a Republican as he did as a Democrat. Independent Parks Smith, who worked extremely hard, calling personally on many voters throughout the city, trounced a popular, well-funded GOP candidate to become Ward 1 alderman.
Independent J. Lynn West, running a low-budget campaign, made a very respectable showing against a popular GOP incumbent, who spent considerably more money.
Here are the questions:
Do party affiliations mean anything anymore, locally or nationally? Or have the words “Democrat” and “Republican” become mere trite labels with no real meaning? Too early to answer those questions.
Concerns about the political process
We’re betting the party labels will become less and less meaningful, locally and nationally, as both national parties continue to suck up to the crazies on their leftwing and rightwing extremes.
Many have commented about the low turnout in yesterday’s New Albany elections. Of 4601 registered voters, only 893 (19.4%) turned out to vote. The heavy rain all day gets part of the blame, of course, but there also prevails a growing apathy, an indifference with the political process.
J. W. Shiverdecker2021 city election, low turnout, MS politics, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news