Bluff City voters return Irene Wells to mayor’s post

J. H. Osborne • May 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM

BLUFF CITY — Unofficial election results Tuesday evening showed Bluff City Mayor Irene Wells has for the first time been elected to the post by the town’s voters.

With 100 percent of precincts tallied, unofficial results showed Wells received 140 votes — a 32 vote margin of victory over Vice Mayor Lon Gene Leonard, who received 108 votes.

In a three-way race for two alderman slots, newcomer Ray Harrington was the top vote-getter with 172 votes — according to the unofficial results, which also showed incumbent Alderman Robert Miller coming in last — with 130 votes. Miller was four votes behind Richard Bowling, who received 134 votes.

If the election’s outcome is unchanged by certified results, Wells will begin a four-year term and Leonard will continue to serve, with two years left before his current alderman term is up.

Wells last ran for election for an alderman seat four years ago. In a five-way race for two alderman seats on the ballot in 2009, Wells placed first, with 147 votes. Miller, the other alderman elected that year, received 132.

In mid 2011, halfway through her elected alderman term, Wells joined with two outgoing aldermen to appoint herself mayor after the seat was left vacant for more than a year when the elected mayor resigned.

Leonard, named vice mayor by fellow aldermen shortly after his most-recent election to the BMA in 2011, had served on the BMA in the past — and ran for mayor in 2009.

In that 2009 mayoral race, Leonard received 127 votes, compared to 154 votes for Todd Malone — who resigned within a year.

The other alderman seat up for a vote Tuesday is currently held by Sheena Cornwell.

Cornwell did not file to seek reelection.

In the town’s last election, in 2011, Bowling placed fourth in what was a six-way race for three alderman seats on the ballot — receiving 113 votes, compared to 152 votes for Alderman Melvin Carrier, the next closest candidate who won a seat in that election. Alderman Bryan Mullins received 157 votes, and Leonard was the top vote-getter with 165 votes.

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