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Reeves, Carpenter win council races; Place 2 too close to call

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, May 4, 2019
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The Decatur City Council will welcome two new faces, and possibly a third, following Saturday’s election.

Melinda Reeves defeated incumbent Randy Parker by a vote of 335 to 258 for the Place 6 at-large seat. Will Carpenter won Place 4 by a vote of 109 to 81 over Eddie Allen.

Those two races appear to be final, even though results will not be considered official until after they are canvassed.

But the race for Place 2 remains too close to call.

In that three-person race, Jake Hayes holds a one-vote lead over incumbent Susan Cocanougher, 68-67. Justin Horton received 55 votes.

Five provisional ballots and one mail-in ballot for the Decatur elections means there is the potential that the vote total could change. Wise County Elections Administrator Sabra Srader said the ballot board will meet Tuesday to determine what will happen with those votes.

Hayes said Saturday night he was not ready to claim victory.

“I’m definitely holding off,” he said.

He joked that the one thing he wanted the most on Saturday – for the race to be over – was the one thing he didn’t get. However, he complimented his opponents on the race.

“I respect both of the other candidates,” he said. “I’m super proud of the race we ran. There was no back and forth. It’s been a very civil race. We’ve all got slightly different opinions, but I can call them both my friends still.”

Cocanougher said she appreciated the people who voted for her and said she’ll wait to see what the final numbers say.

“If it turns out I won, I’ll roll up my sleeves and get back to work, and if Jake wins, I know he’ll make a good council member,” she said.

Both said they were encouraged by the heavy turnout in this year’s election.

Reeves, a former principal at Decatur High School, said the key to her Place 6 victory was young voters and Hispanic voters.

“I think I had a lot of support from the young people that knew me as their principal. I also worked hard to reach out to the Hispanic community to show them they are a valued part of the community,” she said.

Reeves called the result a referendum for change. She was backed by Decatur Forward in the campaign.

“People are ready for a little change. When I came here 25 years ago there were things that needed changed. People know that I’m capable of it,” she said.

Carpenter said he was grateful for the support he received from family, friends, church family and the voters in Place 4. He also complimented his opponent in the race.

“Eddie’s a good guy. He ran a good campaign himself,” he said.

Now that he’s been elected, Carpenter said he’s ready to get to work.

“I’m thankful to the community, and I’m looking forward to serving,” he said.

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