In an unusual election storyline, voters in Webster cast ballots for a total of 21 write-in candidates because too few candidates signed up to run for the five available seats on the town council.
When the new town council convenes, three write-in candidates — Mark Jamison, Alan Grant and A.J. Rowell — are expected to be sworn in along with incumbents Billy Bryson and Jean Davenport. Larry Phillips will replace long-time mayor Steve Gray, who also did not run for re-election.
Jamison, the Webster postmaster and a former member of the Jackson County Planning Board and the former chairman of the county’s smart growth task force, was among the write-in candidates who won a seat. Although he did not actively campaign, Jamison was asked by several citizens if he would agree to serve if elected.
“Several people had asked me to run for either mayor or a council seat, and I felt because of my job that I didn’t necessarily want to file. But they asked if I would serve if I was a write-in winner, and I said yes,” Jamison said Tuesday night.
“I’m looking forward to serving. I’ve been active from the sidelines for a while, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to address some of the issues,” Jamison said.
Jamison is a federal employee, but he said that since the town election is non-partisan there are no issues with the Hatch Act, which governs the political activities of federal employees.
While Jamison and Grant were clear winners with 23 and 20 votes, respectively, fifth-place finisher Rowell collected six votes, and two others tallied five. All results are unofficial until canvassing by the county board of elections.
Larry Phillips 35
Seats up for election: 5
Total seats on board: 5
Billie Bryson (I) 26
Jean Davenport (I) 26
Mark Jamison (write-in) 23
Alan Grant (write-in) 20
A.J. Rowell (write-in) 6
Registered voters: 445
Voter turnout: 40 (9%)