By Patrick Yost Editor
In perhaps the largest voter turn–out in a Madison City Council race, District Five challenger Chris Gilbert Hodges defeated incumbent District Five Council Member Michael Naples 127 votes (64 percent) to 72 votes (36 percent) Tuesday night.
In the District Two City Council race, former Madison City Council Member Bobby Crawford defeated Stratton Hicky 150 votes (66 percent) to 78 votes (34 percent).
Fred Perriman, running unopposed for the Madison mayor’s position, collected 436 votes.
Morgan County Elections Supervisor Bobby Howington, who had predicted a 20 percent turn–out prior to early voting, was shocked at the level of participation.
In the Hodges/Naples race, 51 percent (202 voters) of the district’s 395 voters voted. In the Crawford/Hicky race 45 percent (230 voters) of the district’s 517 voters participated.
“It blew me out of the saddle,” Howington said.
Two years ago participation in the Madison City Council races drew 7.2 percent voter turn–out.
“This is one of the highest turn–out’s we’ve ever had in a Madison city election,” Howington said.
For Hodges, she said she had targeted 170 votes to earn the seat and she and her supporters had expected heavy participation. “It was what we expected,” she said. “We worked hard with early voting to get the vote out.”
Hodges held several rallies in various neighborhoods prior to the election and organized a team of volunteers to register voters and urge them to the polls.
“I’m excited to serve the people of the Fifth District. I’ve come to know them in the past few months and heard their concerns. I look forward to serving them.”
Naples, who is finishing his second four–year term as a Madison council member, said he had served the office with integrity. “I want to thank my constituents of my district,” he said. “Thank you for the eight years I served with integrity.”
Crawford said he was humbled by the win. “To us (he and his wife Nancy) it’s been a challenge.”
Crawford said he would spend the next few months getting familiar with council affairs and would continue to elicit concerns from District Two constituents.
“The only way I know is to represent the people,” he said. “That’s what I’m there for.”
In a prepared statement, Hicky wrote that he wished “…Mr. Crawford the best in his term of office as District Two City Councilman, and look forward to seeing him in action at council meetings.”
“I’m sorry that I will not be a voting member of the Madison City Council but I assure you that I will continue to attend city council meetings as I have for the last several years, albeit simply as a member of the public.”
Perriman, Hodges and Crawford will all take office January 1, 2014. Additional reporting by Nick Nunn.