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Apr. 7—SALTILLO — Affidavit ballots trimmed Copey Grantham's thin lead over two-term incumbent Rex Smith Wednesday afternoon, but they did not stop him from effectively winning Saltillo's mayoral election.
With only six absentee ballots outstanding, Grantham's 13 vote lead makes his victory mathematically certain as it currently stands.
Saltillo City Clerk Mary Parker has refused to call the election, however, on the advice of the Secretary of State's office.
"Because of the closeness of the race and the fact there are still outstanding ballots, the Secretary of State's office said they would not call it," Parker said.
She noted that someone could still contest the election or call for a recount.
When asked, Smith said he doesn't plan to challenge the election.
"I will not," he said. "I trust the integrity of the system."
Saltillo's mayoral race was too close to call on election night. With the ballots counted Tuesday night, Grantham held a slim 483-467 vote lead over Smith, with16 affidavit ballots to be sorted. Only five of these ballots were cast by people who lived in the city limits and were registered voters. Of the 11 ballots thrown out, six people lived in the city but were not registered voters.
The five extra ballots moved the mayoral totals to 484-471 in Grantham's favor.
With no Democratic candidate to face in the June 8 general election, Tuesday's primary election all but guarantees Grantham, currently in his first term on the city's board of aldermen, will be Saltillo's next mayor.
Smith chose not to observe as the Republican Municipal Executive Committee counted the affidavit votes, Wednesday, saying he trusted the people doing the counting.
Although the race will not be certified until next Tuesday — the deadline for the absentee ballots to arrive in the mail — Grantham said he is ready to begin shaping his administration.
"We feel good about the numbers, and I am excited to get to work for the city of Saltillo," Grantham said. "I want to be ready to start off strong as soon as I take office in June."
He plans to work on the city's transparency by eliminating most called special meetings. Grantham wants the board of aldermen to return to hosting two regular monthly meetings, and to livestream those meetings for those unable to attend in person.
"I want the citizens to know when we are meeting so they can see how we are spending their tax dollars," Grantham said.
To improve the relationship between the city and the citizens, he wants to make city hall more open. That includes opening the building during the lunch hour so people can run errands during their midday break.
"I want to run the city more like a small business than a government," Grantham said.
The affidavits also changed the totals in the aldermen races, but did not affect the rankings.
Brian Morgan still led the way with 474 votes, followed by incumbents Scottie Clark (473) and Terry Glidewell (396). Those three received mathematical majorities and have been elected.
The next four finishers — Dylan Whitt (343), Sonya Hill Witcher (340), incumbent Craig Sanders (318) and former alderman Scott Knight (276) will compete in the April 27 run-off for the remaining two aldermen seats.
Also running for alderman were Ron Cottom (240), incumbent Donald Cullum (235), Bill Monaghan (216), George "Dinky" Crowder (202), Brandon Bailey (145), Brandon Sanders (113), and Gene Echols (102).