Howell is Lamar’s new mayor by 9-vote margin
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
When election commission staffers were shutting down for the night Nov. 2, it still wasn’t certain who had been elected mayor of Lamar – Inez Lee or James Howell? Unofficial returns showed Lee, a Town Council member seeking the mayor’s post, with 155 votes, and rival James Howell with 164 – a nine-vote difference. Elections officials were double-checking the totals. By the next day, county elections officials said that those nine votes stood, and that based on unofficial returns – later certified by the county – the election was Howell’s. Incumbent Lamar Mayor Darnell Byrd-McPherson chose not to run for another term. In a candidates’ forum Oct. 19, Howell, a landscaper, and Lee agreed on most issues – crack down on crime, bring in more jobs, bring in more businesses, and improve the town’s appearance. “Main Street looks terrible,” Howell said. Both described themselves as lifelong Lamar residents. Also on the Lamar ballot Nov. 2 were two at-large seats on Town Council. Unofficial returns showed incumbent Tyler Cook winning re-election with 162 votes. He had no opposition. Unofficial returns also showed incumbent Mary Ann Mack winning re-election with 176 votes. She also faced no opposition. However, elections officials said 105 write-in votes in Mack’s race were cast for another candidate, Jerry Shull.