New D4 rep guaranteed; all incumbents face challengers
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore’s last city election cycle, in 2016, saw opposition in only one race. That won’t be the case this year.
Fifteen individuals are seeking six offices up for grabs in the municipal election — set to take place next Tuesday, August 25 — including at least one challenger for each incumbent and a guaranteed new face in the District 4 seat.
Mayor Jim Staff, who served 20 years as the city council’s District 5 representative before being elected mayor in 2012, is seeking a third four-year term. (All elected city seats are for four years.)
Susan Smith was elected to the District 4 council seat in 2012. She will vacate the seat after eight years to run against Staff.
According to City Clerk Becca Smith, a third candidate, Ernie Digmon, filed qualifying papers for the mayor’s race but failed to file the Statement of Economic Interest required of each candidate and will not be listed on the ballot.
According to the Alabama Secretary of State Office, through August 10, which was the last day to register, Atmore had 5,289 voters who could potentially cast ballots in the mayoral race. Of those, 4,872 are considered active, and 417 have been designated “inactive.”
An inactive voter is one who has not cast a ballot in two straight federal elections and has failed to return repeated post cards from election officials seeking to verify his or her address. The law was intended to help clean up the nation’s voter rolls. These individuals are eligible to vote until such time as they are removed by law from the voter list.
A capsuled look at the Atmore council races:
District 1: Incumbent Webb Nall, who has served six terms on the council, faces opposition from Bernard Williams. District 1 has 1,054 registered voters, of which 971 are active. District 1 voting will be done at Atmore Public Library.
District 2: Incumbent Jerome Webster replaced Cornell Torrence as District 2 rep in 2016. Webster’s attempt to win a second term is opposed by Angelia Norman. The district has 1,009 registered voters, with 91 considered inactive on July 31. D2 voters will cast ballots at Atmore City Hall Auditorium.
District 3: Incumbent Chris Walker seeks a fourth term as the District 3 council representative. He is being challenged by Eunice Johnson in a district that has 895 active voters and 85 inactive ones. Votes for District 3 will be cast at the Friendship Quilt Club building, adjacent to Oak Hill Cemetery.
District 4: The race to represent the council’s largest district, which has 1,144 active registered voters and 78 inactive (1.222 total), will be a four-person contest. Looking to move into the seat being left empty by Smith’s mayoral run are (alphabetically): Brandy Giger, Larry Houck, Shawn Lassiter and Logan Walston. District 4 voters will also cast ballots at city hall, but in City Council Chambers.
District 5: Incumbent Chris Harrison, who is seeking a third term as District 5 councilman, is being opposed by two individuals. The district’s 1,024 registered voters (944 active) will choose between Harrison, Bub Gideons and Sandra Gray. District 5 voting will be done at the Escambia County Shop (also known as the County Barn) on Jack Springs Road.
Absentee votes: City Clerk Becca Smith reminded registered voters in all five districts that absentee ballot applications must be requested no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, August 20, and must be returned by the voter himself or herself (with a picture ID) no later than noon on election day, Tuesday, August 25.
All five polling places will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 7 p.m. Atmore police will be stationed at each location to make sure the six-feet social distancing protocol is observed by all voters. Masks will be worn by poll workers and are recommended for all voters.
Note: Atmore News goes to press midday on Tuesday. We will not hold next week’s paper for election results. However, we will have results as soon as they are posted at the polling locations that evening. You may see results on the Atmore News Facebook page and on atmorenews.com.