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franklin county times

Smith sweeps to third term

By Staff
REFLECTED  Mayor John Robert Smith gives an acceptance speech Tuesday night at his campaign headquarters. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
June 6, 2001
Mayor John Robert Smith didn't spend the final hours before the polls closed Tuesday nervously pondering his political future. Instead, while votes were being counted, he was speaking to a group of local ministers.
At 7:45 p.m. when the Republican incumbent finally arrived at his campaign headquarters, by then brimming with dozens of supporters, he was greeted with cheers that should have signaled the outcome.
When given the results, Smith's political calm quickly diminished as he came to tears in expressing thanks to dozens of supporters and family members, who helped him garner an overwhelming 66 percent of the vote in a landslide victory. His next closest challenger, Independent Charlie Haynes, totaled only 16 percent of the vote.
Smith's veteran campaign manager, Rae Ellen Gordon, was happy with the returns.
In winning all 15 precincts, Smith said he is hoping that the victory gives him a strong mandate to continue with aggressive new strategies for growth.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.