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Lawrence Wins in Caledonia — Four incumbents returned to office

BY BRIAN JONES
Staff Writer
brian.jones@test.columbuspacket.com/packet

Former Mayor Bill Lawrence swept into office in a landslide in Caledonia Tuesday night, and all four incumbents who sought re-election were returned to office.  Mitch Wiggins took the seat formerly held by Mike Savage, who did not seek re-election.
Election Commissioner Ken Byars said that turnout was around 50 percent.  About 330 votes, including 28 absentees, were cast.
Elections in Caledonia are all at large and do not have a party primary.  Voters cast one vote for mayor and five for alderman, with the top five candidates winning the seats.
Lawrence pulled ahead early, leading political newcomer Bell by a wide margin all night.  Bill Darnell, Steve Honnoll and Brenda Willis all similarly established commanding leads early and never looked back.
The results in the mayor’s race were Lawrence 239, Bell 93.  The alderman’s race results:
•    Steve Honnoll (Incumbent): 221
•    Brenda Willis (Incumbent): 208
•    Bill Darnell (Incumbent): 197
•    Mitch Wiggins: 178
•    Quinn Parham (Incumbent): 169
•    Matt Atkins: 165
•    Brenda Spotts: 100
•    David Weathers: 99
•    Charlie Underhill: 75

[I always enjoy covering elections in Caledonia.  Votes are counted by hand and each is read aloud to the audience as it’s pulled from the ballot box.  It’s hard to imagine a purer distillation of the democratic process than that.  That being said, I once again have to scold Caledonia residents for their lack of interest.  Very few people turned out for the voter’s forum a few weeks back, and few showed up for the vote counting Tuesday night.  I estimate fewer than 30 were in the audience, and many of those were either candidates’ families or reporters.  It’s sad to me that, with the town staring down the barrel of some very hard decisions, more people aren’t interested in their future. – Brian Jones] 0

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