The people have spoken

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

The voters of Greenville have spoken. At least some of them.

Two open seats for the Greenville City Council were settled Tuesday night with one yet to be determined.

Dr. Jean Thompson was voted to be the new District 1 council member while Ed Sims retained his seat in District 2.

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Thompson was able to defeat Susan Murphy 240 to 178, while Sims retained his seat by a 148 to 124 count over challenger Percy Nixon.

Thompson expressed her joy over the results Tuesday night.

&uot;I feel extremely wonderful and I really appreciate the help I got from all my supporters,&uot; she said.

&uot;I can not thank them enough for their help, support and of course, their vote.&uot;

She said she learned a lot in her first campaign for the public office and that throughout it all she put her best forward.

She said she would work diligently for all citizens of District 1 and the city of Greenville as a whole.

&uot;I pledge my very best efforts, my time and energy to make this a better place to live than what we already have,&uot; she said.

Thompson said one way to do that is to control spending, and that is something she wants to see happen with city government.

&uot;You either have to increase the income or decrease the spending,&uot; she said. &uot;One thing is to increase the income through grants.

I would like to see us pursue more of those.&uot;

Thompson, who plans to retire from her post at the Greenville campus of LBWCC in 2005, said she is excited about taking office and looks forward to working with the council, especially if she is the only new member.

&uot;I feel fine about that,&uot; she said.

&uot;I see myself working with them very well.&uot;

For District 3 things will not be as easy. Challenger Tommy Ryan made a strong showing as the top candidate with 67 votes. However, current councilman Otto Duke was close behind with 61 votes.

The third challenger, Phillip Graham, was not far behind either candidate with 57 votes of his own.

In the end, it was Duke and Ryan that would make the runoff.

Graham felt low voter turnout played a large role in the numbers.

&uot;Voter turnout, especially in local elections was a real concern of mine,&uot; said Graham. &uot;People just don’t vote. I always vote. It’s a right that has been earned by people’s blood and I don’t understand why people aren’t more concerned.&uot;

For Duke, the hard work starts again. Duke said now the process must start anew. He said he would waste no time in getting back on the campaign trail.

&uot;I’ve just got to get back out there knocking on doors and ringing door bells,&uot; said Duke. &uot;It’s just a matter of getting back out there on the streets.&uot;

Duke said he plans to try to reach every candidate in his district if possible.

&uot;I’m just going to go right back out there come Monday and start over again,&uot; said Duke. &uot;It all starts again.&uot;

Duke said he felt it was possible to knock on all the doors in the short amount of time he has left.

&uot;I think it is possible,&uot; said Duke. You can knock on all the doors in three weeks. You’ve just got to get out there and hang with it.&uot;

Duke is no stranger to runoffs as he found himself in the same situation during the last election. When asked if Duke felt this gave him an edge he said it was a possibility.

&uot;It’s possible,&uot; said Duke. &uot;We’ll just have to wait and see.&uot;

The night’s leader, Ryan, said he was pleased that he came out on top, if only by a small margin.

&uot;I was surprised,&uot; he said. &uot;I thought the incumbent would probably have the most votes.&uot;

He said he was not happy with the low turnout of the district’s voters and expressed his wish that more people would exercise their right.

He also said the campaign went well.

&uot;I canvassed the entire district,&uot; he said. &uot;I knocked on almost every door and people were receptive.

I did have some people who invited me to come in and chat about issues. I think there is a genuine concern about budgetary issues and how far we are going to go to spend and attract economic and commercial clients.&uot;

Ryan said its back to work on the campaign now and he looks forward to the runoff.

In the Georgiana election, Mayor Lynn Watson will return to office on Oct. 1 for another term.

He defeated challenger Larry Creech 294 votes to 179 votes.

In the District 2 race, the incumbent Robert Cheatham Sr. defeated challenger Joy D. Cobb 53 votes to 41 votes.

In the closest race of the night, Robert L. Wilson defeated William Lewis 45 votes to 42 votes.