Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft and Chief of Police Joey Merrill will serve a second term in their respective offices after receiving the majority of votes in Saturday’s primary election.
Craft, a Democrat, took 63 percent of votes, or 1,074, to independent challenger and former Vidalia mayor Hyram Copeland’s 37 percent, or 618 votes, according to unofficial results from Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.
“The win was a wonderful experience," Craft said. "We are poised to take the next positive step for our town and to continue providing services for our citizens."
In his next four years, Craft said he would like to see a town drainage study, continue the fight against blighted property, approve Vidalia's fire rating, and further economic development.
Additional projects on Craft's radar are the mitigation of seepage water plaguing Vidalia, moving forward on a $7 million electric substation and doubling the capacity of the water plant.
"I'm looking forward to working with the aldermen we have," Craft said. "Now it is time to roll our sleeves up and get to work."
Fifty-three percent, or 911 voters cast their ballots for Merrill. His challengers Frank Duson Jr. had 492 votes, or 29 percent; former Vidalia Chief of Police Arthur K. Lewis garnered 177 votes, or 10 percent; and Chris Stricklin had 128 votes, or seven percent.
“My team and I will work hard for you during the next four years to keep Vidalia safe and to make sure we do it as efficiently as possible,” Merrill said in a social media post. “I will continue to pray daily and look to God to guide me in my role as chief.”
Along with mayor and chief of police seats, Vidalia voters chose aldermen.
In Vidalia Aldermen District 1 race, Rosa Irving Demby received the most votes with 174, or 67 percent, followed by Joseph “BoBo” McCoy’s 87 votes or 33 percent.
Incumbent Robert Lee Gardner Jr. won a second term in District 2 with 200 votes or 51 percent while Raymond Murray had 167 votes or 42 percent and “Jamie” Walsworth collected 27 votes, or seven percent.
Three aldermen are selected by voters for District 3.
Incumbents John Betts, Tommy Probst and challenger Brent Smith were the top vote getters for District 3.
Betts received 564 votes, or 24 percent; Probst had 542 votes, or 23 percent; Smith garnered 521 votes, or 22 percent; Dore’ had 481 votes, or 20 percent and “Chris” King took in 239 votes, or 10 percent.
In other Concordia Parish election results, Gene Allen will take on Rydell Turner in a runoff for Ferriday’s mayoral seat.
Allen received the most votes in the primary election with 346 or 37 percent.
Thirty-three percent, or 307 people voted for Turner for the Ferriday mayor’s seat, followed by Glenn Henderson with 191 votes or 21 percent and incumbent Sherrie Jacobs McMahon with 85 votes or nine percent.
In Ferriday’s Alderman – District A race Brandi Bacon received 71 votes, or 35 percent; Wayne Roberts had 65 votes, or 32 percent; and Shana “Pouncey” Skipper had 66 votes, or 33 percent.
In Ferriday’s Alderman – District B race Elijah “Stepper’s” Banks had 58 votes, or 41 percent; Margaret J. Glasper had 33 votes, or 23 percent; Devonte “Tay” Schiele had 21 votes, or 15 percent; and Ahren Williams had 31 votes, or 22 percent.
In Ferriday’s Alderman – District C race Sharon Denise “Shanice” Goodman had 25 votes, or 13 percent; Sandra “Gail” Pryor had 98 votes, or 53 percent; and Emma “PuPu” Skipper had 63 votes, or 34 percent.
In Ferriday’s Alderman – District D race Andre J. Keys and Patricia “Martin” Williams tied with 67 votes, or 37 percent, each and Johnnie “Rip” Woodruff had 46 votes, or 26 percent.
In Ferriday’s Alderman – District E race Essie Green had 27 votes, or 27 percent; Gloria Lloyd had 60 votes, or 59 percent; and David Turner had 14 votes, or 14 percent.
Additionally, Clayton Aldermen Wilbert Washington beat incumbent Mayor Josephine Washington 156 votes to 23 votes to win the town’s mayoral seat, according to Secretary of State numbers.
Wilbert Washington received 87 percent of the votes to Josephine Washington’s 13 percent.