After a year that brought racial and social equality to the forefront of public conversation, Tuesday’s Clarksville City Council elections put an exclamation point on where it stands locally.
Never has the council been more diverse than it will be come January when newly-elected members are sworn into office, and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts weighed in on that subject this week through a prepared statement.
“The Clarksville City Council election on Tuesday was remarkable — a better word may be unprecedented — for several reasons,” Pitts said..
“First, voters for the first time chose seven new City Council members, the highest number in one election in memory. This was because some incumbents were term-limited, some decided not to run for re-election, and others simply faced some tough competition.
Election 2020:See Montgomery County race results
“Second, voters chose a very diverse City Council, which now will have gender balance, with six women and six men, and six members of the incoming council are African-Americans. These are both unique totals in our history, and this new council will truly reflect our community, which is a good thing,” Pitts said.
“I thank all of the outgoing members for their service, and I look forward to working with all our new council members as we all strive for a prosperous, inclusive Clarksville.”
In review, here’s how the various city races went:
Wallace Redd, a former councilman who had taken a pause in his political life, won in his bid to return to the council in Ward 4.
Redd, with 43.2% of the vote, unseated the Ward 4 incumbent, Tim Chandler who ended the night with 27.2%. Finishing between the two men was Margaret Thompson in second place at 29.2%.
In Ward 5, there will be a city councilman serving simultaneously as a Montgomery County commissioner.
District 18 Commissioner Jason Knight won the Ward 5 city council seat held by Valerie Guzman. He will now sit on the two local governing bodies simultaneously.
Knight won handily with 50.9% of the vote, to 36% for Melissa Eldridge and 12.7% for Joey Dasinger.
The race for Clarksville City Council Ward 8 was a two-way contest between Wanda Allen and Faye Hobson.
In the end, Allen — wife of existing Ward 8 Councilman David Allen — won overwhelmingly with 74% of the vote to 25.3% for Hobson.
In Clarksville City Council Ward 9, four candidates sought to replace councilman Jeff Henley.
Karen Reynolds ultimately ran away from the rest of the field with 43.1% of the vote. Her closest competitor was Scott Comperry at 25.5%, followed by Christopher Lanier (15.6%), and Brad Morrow (15.2%).
A young newcomer to local politics, Ashlee Evans, 27, upended incumbent Ward 11 City Councilman Gary Norris and held off challenger Jimmy Brown to win the Ward 11 council seat.
Campaigning on her age as an advantage in one of the state’s youngest cities, Evans won with 38.1% of the vote to 34.8% for Brown and 26.5% for Norris.
The race to fill the seat of term-limited Ward 12 City Councilman Jeff Burkhart was a wide-open, six-way contest.
The six candidates were Trisha Butler, Jon Lockwood, Joe Shakeenab, Guy Stanford, Jr., Adam Walker and David Webb.
It was Butler who narrowly won over Shakeenab, with the rest of the field falling further behind.
Butler claimed 32.6% of the vote Tuesday, to 30.6% for Shakeenab. The rest of the field included Stanford (12.8%), Lockwood (11.2%), Webb (6.5%) and Walker (5.9%).
In one other uncontested council race, DaJaun Little became Ward 3 councilman, replacing Ron Erb, who didn’t seek re-election.
And Clarksville also returned City Judge Charles Smith to office in an uncontested race.
Council Ward seats that weren’t up for election: Ward 1, currently occupied by Richard Garrett; Ward 2, currently held by Vondell Richmond; Ward 6, held by Wanda Smith; Ward 7, Travis Holleman; and Ward 10, Stacey Streetman.
Reach Jimmy Settle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 931-245-0247.
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