June 5, 2013 10:45:55 AM
Carl Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org
Incumbent Parker Wiseman earned a second term as Starkville's mayor Tuesday, defeating GOP challenger Dan Moreland by an unofficial 2,299 to 1,817 vote count.
That total includes absentee ballots but does not include affidavits. Affidavits, which are not expected to change the outcome of the mayoral race, were scheduled for processing 8:15 a.m. today at City Hall.
Due to press time, the Dispatch was unable to provide updates from the morning vote-processing session.
Wiseman beat Moreland in five out of the city's seven wards -- Wards 1 and 3 went for his challenger -- and stood fast against Republican incursions targeted at Wards 6 and 7. In 2009, Wiseman secured all but one ward against his challenger, now local GOP chairman Marnita Henderson.
Moreland held off Wiseman in Ward 1 by 334-308 and in Ward 3, his biggest finish, by 529-361, but the incumbent maintained large strongholds established in Wards 6 and 7 in the 2009 election. In those two wards, Wiseman easily handled Moreland 359-172 and 367-120, respectively, building upon vote totals in those areas from the previous election which then did not break the 300-vote plateau.
Wiseman held previously won in 2009 with leads in Wards 2 (248-210), 4 (288-166) and 5 (359-286).
The incumbent's camp declared victory early in the night as unofficial poll results were still being transported to election officials. On the cusp of certain victory, Wiseman entered City Hall and greeted supporters. Election officials had to quiet cheering Democrats while they continued to process the city's ballots.
The second-term mayor thanked his supporters, campaigners, family and wife for the hard work which solidified his victory
"Our campaign was based on the last four years, not the last six months," Wiseman said. "We ran a grassroots campaign that was fueled by a group of supporters excited about continuing forward with the direction of our city. I believe our community is genuinely excited about where we are going."
Oktibbeha County Democratic Party Chairman Chris Taylor said he was proud of how his party re-solidified after uncertainty in the 11th hour. In May, photos surfaced linking three aldermen-elects and a sitting county Democratic Party executive committee member to a Moreland fund-raiser which featured a campaign visit by Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant. Previously, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper also endorsed the GOP challenger.
"The Democratic Party proved that it gets stronger no matter who jumps ship midstream," Taylor said.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch