People are pictured across the street from Aberdeen City Hall shortly after polls closed for last Tuesday’s run-off election.

ABERDEEN – When the new city administration takes office July 7, incumbent police chief Henry Randle will begin his next term of office while political newcomer Nicholas Holliday will begin his first term as alderman. The two men came out winners, according to results of June 16’s Democratic run-off.

Later in the week, the number of candidates for July 7’s general election reduced from four to three people, as Independent candidate Cecil Belle withdrew from the race.

As far as last week’s results for the police chief’s race, Randle secured 925 votes, or 56 percent, compared to opponent Tony Tillman’s 717 votes, or 44 percent.

In the all eyes on Ward 1 race, Holliday defeated opponent Robert Devaull with a total of 177 votes, or 56 percent, to Devaull’s 140 votes, or 44 percent.

The Ward 1 box arrived at City Hall shortly before 10:30 p.m. Close to 9 p.m., members of the Aberdeen Democratic Executive Committee were called to the ward’s polling place because of claims certain ballots were being rejected that shouldn’t have been.

Last week’s run-off came on the heels of claims June 11 of absentee ballot theft out of people’s mailboxes in Ward 1 and further claims that an unnamed candidate took absentee ballots out of voter’s hands, saying he’d fill them out himself.

In a story for the Monroe Journal’s website last week, Randle said both claims were not true.

“It was a verbal altercation between a candidate and someone working for another candidate. When the two opposing teams ended up, the opposing team was there but he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing. The candidate actually walked up to the homeowners, and they actually gave him the ballot. When the opposing team saw that he was getting the ballots, he wanted to start some trouble,” Randle said.

He added a homeowner’s caretaker said it was okay if the candidate helped fill out the ballot. He said both people were in the neighborhood when the ballots came in the mail.

“I interviewed all three homeowners. They all said, ‘No. We actually gave them to him,’” Randle said. “One said she didn’t want to get in the middle of that [argument] and she had given them to one young man then the other young man came up, but she had already given them away. ‘I wasn’t going to take them from him and give them to him’ was basically what she said. She didn’t really care what happened as long as she got them filled out and she voted for the candidate she was going for.”

Holliday’s win secures the aldermen end of incumbent Mayor Maurice Howard’s original Me+3 campaign approach, giving his team of candidates the majority of votes on the board. Other members of what’s dubbed Howard’s A-Team elected June 2 are Lady B. Garth for Ward 2 and Edward Haynes in Ward 3.

The political campaign expanded to Me+5, which included Ward 4 Independent candidate Harold Holliday Jr., who will face incumbent Carolyn Odom July 7, and Cubby Garth as a write-in candidate for Ward 5. Write-in votes don’t count toward results unless there is a death, resignation, withdrawal or removal of a candidate.

The set-up of Aberdeen’s special charter gives the board of aldermen authority of the mayor in decisions.

Howard will face Toni Reece (D) and his other Independent opponent, Mike Bunch, in the July 7 general election.

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