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Phenix City voters give Eddie Lowe a second term

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe re-elected

Incumbuent mayor Eddie Lowe defeated challenger Jerry Barbaree to win re-election as part of a slate of municipal races
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Incumbuent mayor Eddie Lowe defeated challenger Jerry Barbaree to win re-election as part of a slate of municipal races

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe, riding overwhelming support from the city’s southside, fought back the challenge Tuesday from Jerry Barbaree.

Lowe, who made history four years ago when he was elected as the city’s first black mayor, thanked the voters for trusting him with another term. Lowe won with 59 percent, or 1,957, to 41 percent, or 2,817, for Barbaree.

“It means the people of Phenix City trust me,” Lowe said at his victory celebration at the Idle Hour Park Community Center in front of more than 100 supporters. “When you have trust you don’t take that lightly. These people are the reason why I won. You got to have trust and this shows the community trusts and supports me and I am thankful for that.”

Lowe carried two of the city’s three precincts. In his home precinct on the southside, Lowe got nearly 95 percent of the vote. He collected 1,474 votes in the prominently black Spencer Recreation Center. Barbaree recorded just 80 votes in that precinct.

In Barbaree’s home precinct on the northside, Lowe lost but captured a larger percentage of the vote that the challenger did in Lowe’s home precinct. Lowe got more than 29 percent of the vote in the majority white precinct. Barbaree had 1,467 votes to 610 for Lowe.

Lowe also carried the Central Activity Center.

Lowe said he focused on winning and campaigned through the summer with that as the goal.

“We went out grassroots, door to door engaging people, making people feel comfortable,” Lowe said. “At the end of the day, I am so glad it turned out the way it did. It showed this community, a majority of this community, still have faith in me.”

For the first time in Phenix City’s history, the five-person council will be majority black. In addition to Lowe, incumbent Arthur Day was re-elected in District 1 and the Rev. Johnnie Robinson was elected in District 2.

“What I hope and pray is people look at the quality of the person,” Lowe said. “And that is one thing I learned in sports, it is about the quality of the person regardless of what ethnicity they are. And that is what I hope people look at.”

Lowe, 56, is a senior vice president at CB&T of East Alabama. He became the city’s first black mayor four years ago when he was swept into office on a push to change the existing council. He won 60 percent of the vote and took a four-man race without a runoff.

Barbaree, 70, like Lowe is a Phenix City native. He retired in 2012 as the human resources director of Baptist Hospital in Memphis. Prior to that he had worked for a number of Phenix City companies before taking the job in Tennessee. He moved back home after retiring.

Barbaree declined to comment Tuesday night as he and his supporters gathered at the Lakewood Golf Course clubhouse.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams

Race results

Phenix City District 1: Steve Bailey defeats Billy Sims, 73% to 27%

Phenix City District 2: The Rev. Johnnie Robinson Jr. defeats Johnny Barfield, 65% to 45%

Phenix City District 3: Arthur Day wins re-election after with 63% of the vote or Robert Vance, 7%, Otis Bellamy, 29%

Phenix City at large: Griff Gordy defeats Sabrina Sumbry, 55% to 45%

Smiths Station mayor: F.L. “Bubba” Copeland defeats John “Buster” Bessant

Read more on these races on 4A.

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