May 17, 2017 10:42:42 AM
Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver held off challenger Jason Camp Tuesday to become his ward's Republican nominee for June's general election.
Carver will now face Democrat Christine Williams on June 6.
"In the general election, you don't have to vote by party, so you can vote for whomever you want to," Carver said. "Being the only candidate from Starkville, raised in Starkville, in the public school system ... I feel like I'm the most qualified with eight years on the board. I think we set the catalyst for growth."
The two-term incumbent's 147-124 victory on Tuesday starkly contrasted from the tie declared between the candidates on May 2.
Camp was initially declared the winner by one vote after a pair of affidavits reviewed on May 3 were disqualified. Both were later counted for Carver, giving him a one-vote lead, but the Republican Executive Committee went back and disqualified one of them, leaving the race in a tie that forced a runoff.
Carver said he was surprised by the initial results and said it was because of 30 or 40 supporters of his who did not vote because they assumed he would win "handily."
"I went back through the voting records," he said. "Known, consistent voters didn't vote. I understand that a lot of Republican voters voted in the Democratic side because they wanted to have a voice in the mayoral race, but I was kind of surprised by some individuals that didn't vote. So it was refreshing to see those individuals come out and vote."
Though Camp said he hoped for victory, he wasn't altogether disappointed in the results of his campaign.
"We have run a campaign that I am extremely proud of tonight and it will take me months to thank each person that helped in some way," Camp said in an emailed statement to The Dispatch Tuesday. "Tonight's outcome on the surface may seem unsuccessful, but over the last few months, this campaign has resulted in Ward 1 having a restored sense of representation from our alderman. ... I hope this election will serve as a reminder that residents of Ward 1 want an active and responsive alderman over the next four years.
"There are so many opportunities in this community to get involved to help build a stronger Starkville," he added. "I look forward to helping improve our community and building a stronger Starkville by being an active citizen in this great community."