Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson was re-elected to a third term Tuesday beating challengers Bruce Medley and Debi Loring DePriest in the Municipal Election.
Incumbent Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger were also re-elected, beating challenger Shawn Beckham. White was elected to his sixth term and Burger to his third term as Aldermen.
A total of 746 people voted in the election, including 476 early (440 in person and 36 by absentee ballot) and 270 on election day (Tuesday). The City of Smithville has a total of 3,076 registered voters.
Mayor Hendrixson won with 354 votes (47.84%). Bruce Medley, a livestock producer and former Smithville mayor, came in second place with 211 votes (28.51%). Debi Loring DePriest, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, received 174 votes (23.51%) in her first run for public office.
Alderman White led the ticket with 504 votes ( 42.07%) followed by Alderman Burger with 479 votes (39.98%). Shawn Beckham, in his first run for public office, received 210 votes (17.53%) in his unsuccessful bid for alderman.
Mayor Hendrixson thanked his supporters and pledged to continue governing conservatively. "I would like to thank everyone who voted today in the city election. I would especially like to thank the ones who voted for me. I have had the taxpayers at heart for the last four years and I will continue to do that with conservative leadership and trying to take care of the taxpayers dollars. Again, I appreciate your confidence in me and I will continue doing the best I know how during the next two years. Again, I appreciate your vote. Thank you."
Alderman White also expressed his gratitude. " I want to thank all the voters who came out and voted. Those who voted for me and supported me, I thank you dearly. I'll continue to do the job, the best for the community. We have some things that will be hard decisions in the next two years, I feel, but just keep us all in your prayers and thanks again for everybody coming out and voting."
Alderman Burger, who has now been elected eleven times (eight times as mayor and three times as alderman), says he counts it an honor and privilege serving the people of Smithville. " I think I've been pretty lucky. I really want to thank my supporters for taking care of me this long. The ones who didn't support me, I don't have any ill will against them. I hope that we can carry on with the city and do the best we can with what we've got to do with. Thank you very much."
Medley said he was disappointed more people didn't vote. "I'd like to thank everybody who came out and voted and especially the ones who voted for me. I'd like to thank everybody. I just wish more people had voted."
DePriest said she too was concerned about the low voter turnout. "I want to thank all my friends and supporters who gave so much encouragement through this campaign, especially my husband and my family. I want to congratulate Mr. Hendrixson and wish him good luck. The election is over now but the work is just beginning. We can't afford business as usual unless we really want to see our town die a slow death. I think I'm more disappointed in the low voter turnout than I am anything else. I think it's sad that less than 25% of our electorate actually got out to make this decision that could have changed the outcome. But 25% of the electorate got out and they are the ones who spoke and they are the ones who said this is what they want. We've got to get involved as citizens. We need to encourage and support every public servant and employee and we also need to thank them for the outstanding job they're doing. We need to support our elected officials and every positive thing they do and we need to demand their best for we have a future here. We're writing our history every day. Let's make it a great story and let's make this a great city. God bless all. I love Smithville."
The mayor and aldermen-elect will begin their new two year terms of office July 1st. They will most likely be sworn into office sometime before that date.
The other three aldermen, whose terms will expire next summer, are Aaron Meeks, Shawn Jacobs, and W.J. (Dub) White.
Here's how the results break down for each candidate:
Early Voting: 234
Election Day Machine #1 : 47
Election Day Machine #2 : 56
Early Voting: 123
Election Day Machine #1: 30
Election Day Machine #2: 46
Debi Loring DePriest:
Early Voting: 79
Election Day Machine #1: 55
Election Day Machine #2: 33
Early Voting: 308
Election Day Machine #1:82
Election Day Machine #2; 86
Early Voting: 298
Election Day Machine #1: 79
Election Day Machine #2; 81
Early Voting: 108
Election Day Machine #1: 44
Election Day Machine #2; 47