Columbus councilors re-elected

Three Columbus councilors seeking re-election beat back all challengers Tuesday and easily won.

Councilors Berry "Skip" Henderson of District 10, Gary Allen of District 6 and C.E. "Red" McDaniel in District 8 were each elected to another four-year term on the 10-member council.

In unofficial totals from all precincts and early voting, Henderson defeated community activist Bert Coker 41,925 or 70 percent to 17,689 or 30 percent of the votes.

"I'm grateful and really kind of humbled to get re-elected," Henderson said as the totals trickled in. "This was a historic election process from the federal on down.

A focus for Henderson will be preparing for Base Realignment and Closure changes and making sure the city spends the Local Option Sales Tax money the way Mayor Jim Wetherington and the council pledged, using 70 percent for public safety and 30 percent for roads and capital projects.

Coker, a frequent visitor to the council chambers, said evidently, Henderson was doing a good enough job to put him back in office.

"I did the best I could with what I had," Coker said of his efforts to unseat the veteran councilor.

Allen was the victor over Clint Perkins with 7,869 or 70 percent to 3,344 or 30 percent of the votes.

"I'm thankful to the voters." Allen said. "I'm humbled by their trust. I guess I'm getting emotional."

Roads and infrastructure are key issues in his mostly rural district.

"I just think the roads, infrastructure and transportation needs and the penny dedicated to that is incredibly valuable to District 6," Allen said. "As we improve roads and streets from rural to much more improved transportation networks, it will allow police and fire to respond."

C.E. "Red" McDaniel, with 32 years experience on the old city commission and since consolidation in 1971, was elected to a 10th term. He won in a crowded field against challengers Steve Miller and Terry Yarbrough, taking 3,529 or 56 percent of the votes. Miller had 1,439 or 23 percent and Yarbrough took 1,367 or 22 percent.

"I just appreciate the citizens giving me another chance to serve another four years,” McDaniel said. "We've got a lot of challenges ahead of us. I hope my experience will add to that."

During the campaign, Yarbrough tried to move from what he called the status quo but that didn't happen. "If District 8 wants the status quo, they'll vote him back in there and that's fine, " Yarbrough said.

Miller remained generally optimistic, even though results weren't in his favor.

"There are always things that you could have done better."