FLORENCE — Blake Edwards claimed a big win in the Harlan School box Tuesday to wrap up a victory over Coy Bramlett in the District 5 City Council runoff.
Edwards, principal owner of Hospice of the Tennessee Valley, will replace James Barnhart, who did not seek a third term on the council. He takes office along with the rest of the council and new Mayor Mickey Haddock at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 5.
“I want to thank Coy again for running a good race,” Edwards said. “I have a lot of respect for him, and I feel we are friends.”
District 5 is experiencing new retail and residential growth that has posed a conflict for some in the northwest Florence district.
Bramlett, a retired furniture manufacturing and sales executive, led a citizens group that opposed construction of a new Wal-Mart on Cloverdale Road. The City Council and the Planning Commission ultimately approved the project after numerous alterations to the plan.
“I want to congratulate Blake on his win. He ran a good campaign, and he had good support in most areas,” Bramlett said. “I will give him all the support I can give him.”
Turnout was high with 1,105 ballots for an election that had no other races on the ballot. The Aug. 28 municipal election, which included the mayor’s race, attracted 1,688 voters in District 5.
In the August election, Edwards claimed 735 votes (43.5 percent) to Bramlett’s 618 (36.6 percent).
On Tuesday, Edwards claimed 613 votes (55.5 percent) to Bramlett’s 492 (44.5 percent).
Edwards and Bramlett based their campaigns on controlled growth in the district, especially with Wal-Mart opening its second Florence store some time in 2013.
Both candidates knew the results of the race at least an hour before the boxes were brought to City Hall for tabulation, thanks to poll watchers stationed at the polling places.
As it became apparent Edwards had won, they sat down to talk about some of their campaign experiences (they were each bitten by a dog). They said when they started their campaigns, temperatures were above 100 degrees, while on Tuesday they awoke to patchy frost on car windshields.
Edwards said he slowed to wave at Bramlett recently when his opponent was standing along Cloverdale Road with a campaign sign, waving to motorists.
Bramlett joked that where he went wrong in the campaign was not covering up more of Edwards signs.
“I did not know Blake when we started the campaign. It’s hard to be enemies when he’s so friendly,” Bramlett joked.
“I think both of our goals were to leave Florence a better place after we’re done,” Edwards said.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.
Florence City Council, District 5
Coy Bramlett 492 44.5%
Blake Edwards 613 55.5%