During Thursday’s meeting of the Jasper City Council, those questions were cleared up and Danny Gambrell has unofficially been named the winner of the District 2 race.
“It’s not official yet, but I am excited about having the chance to represent the people of District 2,” Gambrell said.
Gambrell won the District 2 seat with 426 votes (50.1 percent), compared to Brent McCarver’s 257 votes (31 percent) and Larry Elliott’s 158 votes (18 percent).
City Clerk Kathy Chambless said questions over the need for a runoff came up due to four votes that were cast for John Randall Dutton, a candidate who withdrew from the race before the election.
Chambless said local officials were not sure if those votes should have counted as actual cast votes. If the votes were accepted, it would put Gambrell in a runoff with McCarver by two votes. If the votes were denied, Gambrell would win without the need of a runoff by one vote.
Jasper officials sought the opinion of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office on the matter. Chambless said she had a conversation with Brenda Smith, a division chief in the AG’s office.
“It is her opinion the candidate that withdrew from the race is no longer a candidate and should not be entitled to have votes count,” Chambless said.
Russ Robertson, the city’s attorney, said he could not find legal precedent on the issue.
McCarver attended Thursday’s council meeting and addressed the council.
“I am not interested in a runoff,” McCarver said. “It is your decision to make, but I see no need to count those four votes. I would go along with the AG opinion.”
Gambrell said he and McCarver have become friends throughout the campaign.
“Brent has some great ideas, and I’m going to take advantage of some of those ideas,” Gambrell said. “I’ve learned a lot from him in this race.”
Council members voted unanimously Thursday to not count the four votes, which will make Gambrell the winner of the District 2 election. The results of the city’s municipal election will not be official until Tuesday when the council will meet to canvass the votes. That meeting has been changed from its originally set time of 10 a.m. to noon.
In other action, the council:
•Renewed its contract with the Wal-Win Volleyball Officials Association to provide officials for park and recreation activities.
•Approved travel for clerks to attend revenue officers certification training.
•Approved paying expenses for Deb Capps, the city’s prosecutor, and Judge Charles Stephens to attend the 2012 Fall Municipal Law Conference.
•Approved the purchase of a part costing $5,038.60 for the city’s leaf truck.
•Voted to allow Mayor Sonny Posey to enter into an agreement with the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging to provide meals for local seniors.