LaGrange City Councilman Jim Thornton wanted to wait late Tuesday night until all the numbers were in before allowing his supporters to celebrate his rise to the mayor’s seat.
Finally, after absentee ballot results were released, cheers went up at his campaign party and friends and family were calling the win a landslide.
“I am ready to declare victory!” Thornton said.
Thornton, an eight-year councilman, bested two other challengers, Jimmy McCamey and Mike Smith, to claim the mayor’s seat. Current Mayor Jeff Lukken chose not to run again after 16 years in the office. Thornton received 2,649 votes to McCamey’s 1,424 and Smith’s 71. There will be no runoff.
“I could not have done this without all the people in this room,” Thornton said. “We have all worked hard for the last five months and particularly the last eight weeks and I cannot thank you enough.”
Thornton said he was glad the message of his record, experience and vision for the city resonated with voters.
“People know leadership is important,” he said. “I hope I will be a good leader for the next four years.”
McCamey did not return phone calls Tuesday.
Also victorious Tuesday was LaGrange Councilwoman Norma Tucker, elected to another four years. She said she was excited about the opportunity to serve but hopes the city can come together and address concerns brought out during the campaign.
Tucker beat challenger Richard “Hope” Kimbrough 809 to 494.
“We need to bring people together,” Tucker said. “There has been too much stuff in the community reported on or said and no follow up.”
As happy as she was to be reelected, Tucker said she also was proud of McCamey’s campaign and disappointed he didn’t win. The two had endorsed each other’s campaigns.
“If LaGrange is ever going to have a black mayor I thought it would happen with him,” she said. “We have a good man in (Thornton) but we had a good man in (McCamey) too. It was a win-win for the city.”
Former Councilman Tom Gore had run unopposed to fill Thornton’s council seat, which he left vacant to run for mayor.
“It’s good to be back,” Gore said. “I look forward to working with everyone.”
Councilman Nick Woodson, who was out of town Tuesday, also was unopposed in the election.