Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist defeated a crowd of challengers led by former state Sen. Lowe Finney to win a new term in Tuesday’s city elections, reports the Jackson Sun.
Gist finished with 5,983 votes, or 51.46 percent. Finney finished second with 4,757 votes, or 40.92 percent. The results are unofficial until ratified by the Madison County Election Commission.
Finney called for change, but Gist asked voters to recognize his experience.
“I’ve always felt that good, steady, non-confrontational leadership is essential as you attempt to govern,” Gist said. “Change in some cases is good, but in some cases you just don’t know what change will bring.”
About 27 percent of registered voters turned out for the election, with a total of 11,733 votes cast. The election cycle was tense at times, with heated forums and negative advertisements.
In the end, Gist was at a podium thanking God and his supporters for carrying him to victory. His family stood at his side in an overflowing DoubleTree Hotel conference room.
Gist urged his supporters to gather those who didn’t vote for him and help get them all to move Jackson forward.
“This is not a divided city,” he said. “We’re more unified now than I’ve seen this city over the years, and that’s due to the hard work of a lot of people.”
Finney told supporters at his campaign headquarters he wouldn’t change anything about how he ran his campaign. The night just didn’t end the way he wanted.
…”We knew we could not take a single vote for granted,” Finney said. “In a non-partisan race there were Republicans supporting me, and there were Democrats supporting Mr. Gist, and I commend Mr. Gist on the race he ran.”
Note: In a statement emailed to media, state GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes took a different view of the election. It’s below.