Only one aldermen run-off due

Published 12:39 am Thursday, May 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — The slim margin of having a run-off in Ward 1 was eradicated Wednesday when paper ballots were counted, while Ward 5 will see a run-off.

Mark Fortenbery and Frances Thompson Bailey will go head to head in the second primary on May 20 for the Democratic nomination for Ward 5.

The paper ballots for Ward 5 were the first to be counted Wednesday morning at the Adams County Courthouse.

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Both Fortenbery and Bailey sat patiently for over an hour waiting to hear if there would be a run-off or not.

Tuesday night, Fortenbery gained 49.4 percent of the vote with Bailey trailing with 39.8 percent.

After counting the paper ballots, Bailey received 21 more votes to Fortenbery’s 19. Fortenbery now carries 48.9 percent of the vote and Bailey has 40.1 percent.

Fortenbery said he was not disappointed by the final count, he’s just glad to still be in the alderman’s race.

“I’m excited about the run-off,” Fortenbery said. “I’m headed in the right direction.”

He said the game plan to prepare for the run-off, only 13 days away, will be to hit the streets and keep knocking on doors.

“It seemed to work pretty good the first time,” Fortenbery said.

Bailey said she’s thankful for the second chance.

“I feel wonderful about the run-off,” she said.

Bailey said she will continue working hard on her campaign trail.

“We are determined to cover every ground as often as we have to,” she said. “I will be knocking.”

She said she is thankful for the votes she received.

“I do want to thank all my voters,” Bailey said.

Ward 1

Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis has been re-elected as Ward 1 alderman after the absentee count.

Though last night it seemed she had the upper hand with 50.8 percent of the vote, it was too close to call and the paper ballots could have changed things in the ward.

However, Mathis received 44 paper ballots, compared to Paul Johnson’s 16, Jim Sanders’s 14 and Sonya Anderson Mars’s five votes.

Had Mathis’s percentage not gone up to 51.4 percent, she would have been challenged by Jim Sanders, with 24.6 percent of the vote, in a run-off.

Mathis said she is content she won the election in the first primary.

“I am very happy,” she said. “I am just so pleased that people came out (to vote) like they did.”

She said by winning by such a large margin, it makes her want to do her job better than ever.

“The outpouring of support makes you want to get back out there and work even harder,” Mathis said.

Mathis said she is already looking ahead to the next four years, making improvements in her ward.

Jim Sanders said he is disappointed there won’t be a run-off, but he’s not too upset.

“It was a good race,” he said. “I tried my best just as I did four years ago.”

He said he was disappointed by the voter turnout, referring to the 711 votes cast Tuesday night.

“I thought people were ready for a change but we had so many voters absent,” he said.

Sanders said he will continue on in his support for the city.

“I wish Joyce well,” he said.