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Allen wins Ferriday mayor; Ferrington on top by 1 vote

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Newly-elected Ferriday mayor Gene Allen, left, sits with his wife Bonnie as they listen to friends speak after getting news Allen won the mayoral election Saturday night at Concordia Funeral Home.

FERRIDAY — After running what he called a clean race and scoring a win in Saturday’s Concordia Parish runoff election, Ferriday Mayor-Elect Gene Allen said he’s ready to get Ferriday faucets running clean water.

Allen, a former mayor of Ferriday, won the race for mayor with 775 votes, or 63 percent, according to unofficial vote tallies. Challenger Joe Sontoyo, the Ferriday fire chief, had 447 votes, or 37 percent.

Allen said his first order of business will be to get the town’s finances in order and see through the completion of the water project, so the town can have good, clean water.

“There’s no reason this community (should) live like a third world country,” Allen said. “If we can get some clean ground water, we’ll be alright.”

Allen celebrated with supporters at his place of business, the Concordia Funeral Home, but by the time results were in he said he was ready to rest after a long campaign.

“I’m going to bed; I have to be at church tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.”

“I want to congratulate Mr. Sontoyo for running a good, clean race,” Allen said.

Sontoyo said he learned that if he ever runs again for public office, he knows he will have to work harder. The mayor’s race was his first time running for public office, he said.

“I’m grateful that I had an opportunity to do this,” Sontoyo said.

Sontoyo said considering the loss, he figured he might have had the wrong strategy. But he said he knows that at least he did everything “right and legal.”

“I am very appreciative of everyone who helped me out — all my supporters and helpers, especially my wife, who stood behind me in all this,” Sontoyo said.

Unofficial voter turnout in the Ferriday mayor’s race was 54 percent.

In the race for District 1 Vidalia alderman, incumbent Tron McCoy defeated challenger Frank Duson. McCoy had 213 votes, or 57 percent to Duson’s 162 votes, or 43 percent.

Unofficial results show District 4B incumbent Melvin Ferrington beat challenger Jimmy “Boo” Wilkinson by one vote. Ferrington had 474 votes, or 50 percent, to Wilkinson’s 473 votes, or 50 percent.

Wilkinson said he did not consider the race over yet, but would wait until the official count came in to comment further on the results.

“I don’t concede,” Wilkinson said. “I’m looking forward to the opening of the machines on Tuesday.

“That’s all I have to say.”

Ferrington said he celebrated Saturday’s results as a win. And he said he checked with the clerk of court who assured him the machines registered results correctly.

“It was a tight race — we had a low turnout and very hard time getting our people out,” Ferrington said.

“One vote’s one vote. We consider it a win.”

Ferrington said though he’s thrilled with the win, he thought he would get more voters out. He said he believed he did have more support in the parish — they just didn’t make it to the polls.

“I’m happy with the win,” Ferrington said. “I’m glad it’s over with.”

Unofficial voter turnout in District 4B was 36.6 percent, the lowest turnout of any of the other districts where there was a runoff.

In the race for Concordia Parish Police Jury District 2, Incumbent Willie Dunbar defeated challenger Fred “Coach” Marsalis. Dunbar had 349 votes, or 63 percent, to Marsalis’ 208 votes, or 37 percent.

In the race for Police Jury District 5A, Incumbent “Jimmy” Jernigan defeated challenger Samuel “Tom” Lowry. Jernigan had 305 votes, or 60 percent, to Lowry’s 206 votes, or 40 percent.

The parish voted “yes” with 2,005 votes or 74 percent for a proposition that will renew the current 10-year, 25-mill property tax for the Concordia Parish School District.

The tax, which is dedicated to the general operations of the school system, generates approximately $2.9 million annually.

The tax dollars are spent on salaries, benefits, curriculum and instruction needs and supports facility improvement programs.