Edwards unseats Cunningham

Published 3:52 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Political newcomer Tommy Edwards defeated incumbent Earl Cunningham in Tuesday’s runoff to earn a seat on the Shelby County Commission.

Edwards received 442 votes (62 percent), while Cunningham garnered 272 votes (38 percent).

“It’s exciting — I’m trying to soak it all in,” Edwards said. “I would like to thank everyone who supported me. There’s no way just one person can run a campaign and get the results we did.”

Edwards is a 37-year-old real estate agent and former Calera police officer. He will represent Place 2, which covers parts of Alabaster, Calera and Montevallo.

Edwards said he will work to relieve traffic congestion and recruit new businesses.

“I’d like to take a very proactive approach in recruiting businesses,” said Edwards. We’re a county with a lot of great resources; if we can bring the jobs down here, the traffic will not be as bad either.”

Edwards doesn’t face a Democratic challenger this November and will take his oath of office in January.

Until then, Cunningham said he plans to continue his work on the commission.

“I’m going to be here. I don’t plan to go off into the night,” said Cunningham. “I will continue to be on the job until that day.”

Cunningham is a 76-year-old retired counselor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He was appointed to finish the term left vacant by the death of George Daily in 2003 and then was elected to a four-year term in ’04.

“I’ve had the joy and pleasure of serving for five years and have no regrets,” said Cunningham. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Edwards’ victory leaves just two seats on the nine-member commission in question.

Incumbents Larry Dillard and Robbie Hayes will face Democratic challengers in the general election.

Dillard will meet Cynthia Bell in the Place 6 race, while Hayes will face-off against Carolyn Shields in Place 9.

The other seven commission candidates, all Republicans, don’t face opposition in November.