Vidalia aldermen all stay, chief goes to run-off

Published 1:00 am Sunday, February 10, 2008

VIDALIA — Though Vidalia didn’t make any changes when it came to the board of aldermen, when the polls closed Saturday two candidates for chief of police were separated by only one vote.

Police Chief Billy Hammers garnered 761 votes — approximately 42.87 percent of the total vote — while challenger Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks received 760 votes, approximately 42.82 percent of the election.

The two will face each other in a run-off March 8.

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Also in the race, challengers “Ricky” Williams took 150 votes and C.A. “Sam” King received 104 votes.

“I am happy I got the votes I got,” Hammers said. “I was the top vote-getter by one vote, so we have to look to the run-off now.”

Hendricks said he was appreciative of all the support he received, and thanked his family and supporters.

“I believe in my heart that the people have spoken in the City of Vidalia and they spoke well,” Hendricks said.

Hammers said he will sit down with his wife to formulate his campaign for the run-off.

“We have to put our heads together and think of a strategy,” Hammers said.

The run-off campaign has already begun for Hendricks, he said.

“We are ready, and the phone calls are already pouring in,” Hendricks said. “The work has just begun.”

In the election for the board of aldermen, all of the incumbents kept their seats.

District Two Alderman Vernon Stevens said he was glad to see the election turn out the way it did.

“I am glad that the whole team will be able to work together for the progress of the city,” Stevens said. “There is so much in the works that a lot of people don’t know about, and it will just be good to be able to wrap it up in the next four years.”

District Three Alderwoman Maureen “Mo” Saunders said she was relieved that the race was over, but she was happy with the way it turned out.

“It’s going to be good working with people you’ve already been working with,” she said. “We’ll just be striving to keep moving, to keep moving forward.”

District Three Alderman Jon Betts said he’s just ready to get back to the work of being an alderman.

“There are still some drainage issues and everyday things I’ll be keeping up with,” Betts said. “I am excited about being back in office.”

A total of 1,775 votes were cast in the chief of police race.

A total of 335 votes were cast in alderman District 1, 340 in alderman district two and 2,516 votes were cast in alderman District 3.