Woods, McRady, Davis, Whitehead elected

Friday, May 8, 2009
Katrina McRady kisses her husband, Councilman-elect Ron McRady immediately after it was clear he's the winner of the 4th Ward election.

Lewisburg voters delivered a landslide victory to the first woman ever elected mayor here as Barbara Woods won 80 percent of the ballots cast in Tuesday's race.

The woman best known as a teacher and principal never saw the distinction as all that noteworthy: " I never thought about that because there have been so many women in office. We've had a woman mayor in Cornersville and Petersburg."

Indeed, there's also been a woman elected by her fellow Marshall County commissioners to chair their meetings, but Councilwoman Quinn Brandon, elected two years ago, was the first woman to be elected to the Council. The other women on the panel were appointed.

Woods succeeds Mayor Bob Phillips who's said he felt serving 12 years was sufficient. Other winners Tuesday were Ronald McRady who succeeds Councilman Phil Sanders. Meanwhile incumbents Hershel Davis and Odie Whitehead were elected Tuesday.

Total voter turn out was 996, according to Elections Commissioner Steve Allen.

Woods' vote total was 784, thereby besting that of Jerry Freeman who received 196 votes. Freeman, a former executive for the Housing Authority here, left the county election office as results became clear and went to his church to join his family.

The biggest reaction to election results announced by Deputy Elections Administrator Roberta Covert was from Katrina McRady, wife of Councilman-elect Ronald McRady.

"Yes," Katrina said loudly in the halls of the Hardison Office Annex on Tuesday night when it was clear that her husband had won over Leland Carden.

Asked if her victory celebration would be to kiss her husband's bald head, Katrina McRady effectively said yes again and went to the man who said what she was doing was "like kissing the Blarney Stone."

The victor attributes his win to door-to-door campaigning.

"I walked the whole 4th Ward asking the voters for their vote and confidence," he said. "Tonight, they have honored my request. I promised the voters ... that I would serve and not be self serving."

He said frequently he was told by people at their front doors that they'd not been contacted at their homes and personally asked for their votes.

McRady succeeds Sanders in the the Ward where he decided against running again.

In the 2nd Ward, Councilman Hershel Davis was re-elected with 228 votes, over Ronnie Joe Hudson who received 127 votes.

Davis, who's typically one of the more quiet councilmen, had previously decided that once he knew the results, he'd go home to bed.

Hudson said he felt as though he'd run a good campaign and thanked voters who supported him.

"Hopefully, I'll be around to run next time," he said. "I may have lost the election, but I met a lot of good people, so I'm a winner...Next time, I'll work harder."

Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr. received 69 complimentary votes as he ran unopposed. He's been serving as the 3rd Ward councilman since his appointment after a series of appointed council members served following the retirement of Elvin White.

Whitehead said he believed the voter turnout was low. Lewisburg has nearly 11,000 residents with approximately 5,000 registered voters. With total voter turnout of nearly 1,000, it seems that about one-fifth of the registered voters participated in the city election.

"That's disturbing," Whitehead said. "People should vote. Its the American way. I served in the service before I could vote."

While dismayed with turnout, Whitehead and others called the city elections an "off-year" event.

"I don't think there were any surprises in the election," he said of the results. "I know all of them. They're all good candidates. I look forward to working with the leaders. It was a clean race. You heard very little sarcasm or negative remarks."