The City of Smithville has a new Mayor and two new Aldermen.
After serving three terms as Mayor of Smithville, Taft Hendrixson was defeated by challenger, Jimmy W. Poss in Tuesday's Municipal Election. Poss tallied 415 total votes (52.53%) to Hendrixson's 375 votes (47.47%) to claim the mayoral seat.
Meanwhile, Tim Stribling and Jason Judd Murphy won seats on the city board, defeating incumbent Stephen White and fellow challenger, Scott Davis. Stribling earned 541 total votes (38.56%) - the most of any candidate on the ballot - while Murphy was next with 463 votes (33%). White finished a distant third with 313 votes (22.31%), while Davis totaled 84 votes (5.99%) in the council race. Incumbent Alderman Cecil Burger chose not to seek re-election.
Two-year terms for Poss, Stribling and Murphy will begin on July 1. They will be sworn into office within the next two weeks.
Smithville city voters also denied an attempt to place liquor by the drink in qualifying city restaurants. By a vote of 402 (54.69%) to 333 (45.31%) city voters said "No" to the liquor by the drink referendum, which would have given city restaurants the opportunity to apply for a license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve wine and other mixed alcoholic beverages to its patrons.
Poss had to overcome a deficit on Election Day, however, to win the election. Hendrixson held an 11-vote edge after the early and absentee votes were totaled. Hendrixson won 296 early and absentee votes, while Poss only garnered 285 early and absentee ballots. Poss made up the deficit on Election Day, however, garnering 130 votes to Hendrixson's 79 votes to claim the mayoral seat. Hendrixson has served as Smithville Mayor since 2006. "I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people that helped me through this campaign," said Poss. "I really appreciate them. I can't call all of their names. We had a good race. Whether it's one or a hundred, it's a good win. I look forward to serving the people. I wish to do a lot of things for Smithville. Kids is a priority. It has been all through my campaign. If we can work with the kids and parents, we have a body (city council) that we can work with. There's a lot of things out there that we need to work on. I'm ready to go to work. We've got good people to work with. The good people of Smithville. I want to see downtown grow. A lot of people do but we've got to have some people come in and open businesses up. We've got to have something for them somewhere," said Poss.
Mayor Hendrixson thanked the people of Smithville for the privilege of having served them for six years. "I would like to say that I have enjoyed the past six years serving as your mayor. A lot of things have happened in Smithville that I am proud of. I congratulate Mr. Poss. I know he'll do a good job. I know our two aldermen-elect will do a good job. Just bear in mind to keep the welfare of the city at all times in your hearts. I appreciate the good turnout today and I appreciate the ones that voted. I appreciate the ones who voted for me. I thank you for being your mayor for six years. I've done the best I know how. Thank you," said Hendrixson.
Meanwhile, Stribling and Murphy carried the ticket, both in early and absentee voting and on Election Day in the race for the City Council. Stribling had 413 early and absentee votes, while claiming 128 votes on Election Day. "I just to thank everybody who came out and voted today," said Stribling. " This is the process that the City of Smithville has. The people have spoken. I'm just very proud that the people have elected me. I'll try to do what's right. We're not going to make everybody happy all the time. We all know that. But we'll just try to move the city forward and go from there," he said
Murphy tallied 339 early and absentee votes and 124 on Election Day. White garnered 225 early and absentee votes and 88 votes on Election Day, while Davis tallied 50 early and absentee votes and 34 votes on Election Day. "I'm very excited," said Murphy. "I'm very thankful. I'd like to thank everybody that supported me. My family and my friends. The people that voted for me. Even the people that didn't vote for me. I'm glad they voted because I think voting is very important. I hope everybody will say a prayer for me and all the others on the city council that we continue to make smart decisions and carry the city forward in the future. I hope to help move the city more into the 21st century and to improve the life of citizens of the City of Smithville," said Murphy.
White was denied a seventh term on the Smithville City Council. He was first elected to the council in 2000. "I want to thank everybody that has supported me down through the years,' said White. " I'm disappointed tonight but that's the way it goes. The public spoke. I've always, the whole time I was on there (city council) did what I felt in my heart was right. I always stood up for family morals and other things like that. I always promoted Smithville. I love Smithville. Its my home. I plan on it being my home forever. I was born here. I really have no regrets. I've fought for what I thought was right. That's the only thing that we can do. I want to congratulate the others. They will be in my prayers. They will be leading the city forward and they're going to need it (prayers)," said White.
A total of 817 Smithville voters cast ballots in Tuesday's Municipal Election. 597 of those voters cast early or absentee ballots, while 220 city voters voted on Election Day.
The new city government leaders will include Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Tim Stribling, Jason Judd Murphy, Danny Washer, Shawn Jacobs, and Gayla Hendrix. The seats of Washer, Jacobs, and Hendrix will be up for election next June.