Runoffs galore in Pelham

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It appears residents in Pelham have differing opinions about who should take over at the helm of the city. The mayoral race and all but one city council race are headed for runoffs.

Gary Waters garnered 42 percent of the vote for the office of mayor — he needed 50 percent plus one to capture the title and must now face Don Murphy in a runoff. Murphy received 28.7 percent of the vote.

Murphy said his experience would push him over the top.

“I figured there would be a runoff with five people in the race, but I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I’ve got 35 years of business experience in Pelham. I know the players, I know the landowners, I know the business owners, and that’s what we need to bring in business to the city.”

Waters said he believes it takes more than good business sense to run a city.

“Mr. Murphy is selling himself as a businessman. I am selling myself as a civic servant,” Waters said. “The city of Pelham has a work force of more than 290 people, and for 31 years, I have been a member of that workforce. I am infinitely familiar with the needs of the city.”

Waters said he also feels his experience protecting the city’s residents would give him an important outlook.

Multiple council races ended tonight without a clear-cut winner as well. Places 1, 2, 3 and 5 will see runoffs. Teresa Nichols takes incumbent Rosie Metcalf into a runoff with 49.78 percent and 39.98 percent of the votes, respectively.

The Place 2 race puts incumbents Willard Payne and Mike Dickens head to head. Dickens held the seat last year, but came short of winning the seat outright with just 48.45 percent, while Payne received 38.82 percent.

Newcomers Beth McMillan and Bill Meadows must continue their race for Place 3. McMillan grabbed 36.96 percent with Meadows coming just behind her with 25.64 percent.

The final runoff will be seen between incumbents Bob Sullivan and Karyl Rice. Rice brought in 42.39 percent with Sullivan gaining 36.81 percent.

Steve Powell won Place 4 outright over Steve Contorno with 58 percent of the vote. Contorno captured 42 percent.