Brown retakes City Hall with landslide win

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Newly-elected mayor Larry “Butch” Brown is congratulated by Rose Godfrey at Brown’s election party Tuesday night at the Natchez Community Center. Brown defeated his opponent Bill Furlow with 2,572 votes.

NATCHEZ — It’s not a flashback; Butch is simply back.

Twelve years after two-term Natchez Mayor Larry L. “Butch” Brown was defeated in a bid for re-election, he’s headed back to the mayor’s office as the city’s overwhelming choice.

Brown won 73.26 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s general election, defeating independent candidate Bill Furlow by 1,665 votes.

Email newsletter signup

Click here for more photos from Tuesday’s election.

Brown had 2,572 votes; Furlow 907 votes, or 25.83 percent.

The Natchez Democrat

Republican Bob Buie, who withdrew from the race May 25 but was still on the ballot, received 21 votes.

Brown and his family, friends and supporters packed into the Natchez Community Center Tuesday night to celebrate the win in style.

Brown, who served as mayor of Natchez from 1992 until 2000, said getting 73 percent of the vote makes him very welcomed back into the mayor’s office.

“It’s nice to come back after 12 years and have the people come out and support me so well,” Brown said. “It’s an exciting time for me, and it’s an exciting time for the city.”

Brown said Furlow was an admirable and clean opponent, who could be an asset to Brown’s administration.

“(Furlow) supports our community, and he wants to serve our community,” Brown said. “I think if he wanted to serve in some other capacity, we could make him part of my administration.”

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Bill Furlow looks at the numbers as the mayoral election results come in on the radio Tuesday night at his home.

Furlow, who gathered with his family, friends and supporters at his home after the election, said he was disappointed in the fact that only 32.9 percent of voters showed up at the polls Tuesday.

“And I can’t help but be disappointed that I didn’t make a better showing,” Furlow said. “But, on the other hand, I ran the campaign I know I could and should have. I did everything I knew and could afford to do, and I ran a clean and ethical campaign that I can be proud of.”

Furlow said it is too early to tell what his focus will be now that the election is over.

“Butch Brown is a major figure in the history of Natchez,” Furlow said. “He has made contributions to this community that will benefit people as-yet-unborn, and I understand that. I’m sure that if he asks for my help in some way, of course I’m going to respond.”

Furlow has spent the last 14 months campaigning for mayor, and he said he has neglected his communications consulting business, Furlow Communications, in the process.

“I need to get busy rebuilding my consulting practice, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have the time to be involved in civic activities,” he said.

Furlow said he does not know what his focus will be in the next chapter, but he said the main thing he will take away from his campaign is the friendships he has made in both the white and black communities in Natchez that might not have otherwise happened.

“I have made good friends in this process, and that is something that will stick with me,” he said.

Furlow said that he has learned, through talking to all different kinds of people during his campaign, that Natchez needs to continue working to bring people of different races together.

“There are disparities in the way we live that are greater than most people realize,” Furlow said.

Uniting the black and white communities into one whole community is one of the most important priorities of the next four years, Brown said.

“I want to bring us out of the 1960s,” he said. “For some reason, we’re stuck there. This is 2012, and I want to move us into a system of government that recognizes that we are a diverse community, that we are not white Natchezians or black Natchezians, but that we are all Natchezians, together as one.”

Brown said he is due about a week’s worth of rest, but after that, he will get to work and continue planning what he has in store for the next four years.

“We have a big agenda, and we’re going to hit the ground running,” Brown said. “I think the people of Natchez are going to be very happy with what we have planned.”

Brown said he has a retreat planned this month with the current and newly elected aldermen. He said the first order of business when he takes office on July 2 will be establishing and adopting a set of rules with the Natchez Board of Aldermen.

“Once the rules are adopted, those people make a commitment to abide by the rules,” Brown said. “We will try to orchestrate a good, orderly decision-making process, which includes all factions, all races and all the people.”

Brown defeated incumbent Mayor Jake Middleton in the May primary.

He defeated Phillip West — who was mayor before Middleton — in a May runoff.