The Mayor's Race

While this election saw three incumbent commissioners defeated, most of the discussion has been about the mayor's race. Mostly, the question has been, how did the mayor lose the election. I'll try to be as fair as I can be to explain.

By most accounts Mayor Herron, Estelle, has done a good job during her four year term as mayor. If you know Ms. Herron you know when she is committed to a cause, she's committed to a cause. Most recently, she and most of the commission had determined that the board of education should be removed from the county office building and relocated to the old vocational school in Lenoir City at a significant cost to the school board/tax payers. This idea had been met with a lot of resistance from not only the board of ed but also many citizens due to the anticipated cost. Even though the proposed move was very controversial and unpopular, the mayor was committed to the plan, apparently, regardless of the political fallout.

Most recently, just about a week prior to the election, Mayor Herron made a recommendation to the budget committee to move four cents from the school building fund to the county general fund. This was also met with great resistance a couple of years ago when it was suggested and again received major pushback from the board of ed and citizens. Apparently, the mayor felt the penny move important enough to again ignore the potential political fallout.

Lastly, either due to work schedule or just complacency, Mayor Herron began to campaign for her re-election very late.

Now, on the flipside of the coin, enter a young man named Buddy Bradshaw. Mr. Bradshaw, who had worked for the county for a time, felt he could bring a new, different direction to county government. He ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and smaller government. He publically opposed the forced relocation of the board of ed and the shift of the pennies from the schools to the county general fund. And probably most importantly, Mr. Bradshaw worked hard on the campaign trail. He spent months traveling from one end of the county to the other knocking on doors and meeting people and explaining his positions and goals for the county if elected.

When all was said and done, Loudon County had a new mayor, all be it by the narrowest of margins. Bradshaw edged out Ms. Herron by only 142 votes out of more than 6,400 cast. Mayor Herron carried seven of the fifteen precincts with Mr. Bradshaw taking the other eight.

Ms. Herron may have been hit with the perfect storm in her loss. Poor political timing, minimal campaigning and low voter turnout.

Mr. Bradshaw may also have been hit by the perfect storm in his victory. A strong campaign message, massive personal campaigning and low voter turnout.

I know both Mr. Bradshaw and Ms. Herron. I celebrate with Mr. Bradshaw and I sympathize with Ms. Herron. Regardless of where you stand on the election, it is over and the county, it's citizens and officials must move forward for the benefit of everyone..