Butler first in Aldermen race

Published 12:00 pm Friday, November 9, 2012

By Lucy Parker

The Daily News

Voters in Franklinton have selected four incumbents and one newcomer to serve on the town’s Board of Aldermen, which had eight candidates in the hunt for a seat.

All representation on the board is at-large, with the top five vote getters winning the seats outright.

Coming in first was incumbent T.J. Butler Jr., who received 919 votes, or 15.86 percent of the votes cast.

Butler said he thought the race went well and that he encountered “some really wonderful people” while he was running for re-election.

“Everywhere we went, the people in Franklinton were super nice,” he said. “We never got anything negative from anybody in Franklinton. Even if they weren’t going to vote for you, at least they told you in a nice way.”

The campaign, Butler said, was a good opportunity to find out more about the people he is representing.

“I enjoy meeting the people and talking with the people and sharing ideas,” he said.

As the returns rolled in, Butler said fellow incumbent Richard Dillon was “right on (his) coattails,” but ending up as the leader was gratifying.

“I’m just glad that the people have a lot of confidence in me, and I plan to fulfill their wish,” Butler said.

Dillon finished with 899 votes, or 15.52 percent. The other incumbents retaining their seats were John L. Daniel, who received 824 votes, or 14.22 percent, and Brad Orman, who pulled in 731 votes, or 12.62 percent.

The challenger elected was Heath W. Spears, who got 649 votes, or 11.2 percent. He said he is humbled by being selected as an alderman and that he had much help along the way.

“There’s no way I could have done it on my own,” he said. “It took a team effort. It took every one of us working together, and we’re looking forward to working together and working for this town and our people here.”

Getting out and meeting Franklinton’s citizens during the campaign was a “wonderful experience,” Spears said, and knowing that he had support allowed him to push through during the long campaign days.

“That means a lot, to have people that believe in you,” he said. “It gives you that extra motivation to go the extra mile, and that’s what we want to do. We want to work hard and go the extra mile for our town and our people here.”

Asked if there were any changes he would like to see made in Franklinton, Spears said he thinks there is always room for improvement.

“But overall, we just want to make Franklinton a better place and just work hard for the people,” he said. “When you work hard for the people your town, then you have good results. You see good things happen.”

Losing her seat was incumbent Florence Manning, who received 622 votes, or 10.74 percent. Hopeful Jeremy Gueldner finished with 575 votes, or 9.93 percent, and challenger Wayne Bryant with 574 votes, or 9.91 percent.