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Chapman wins the Ward 3 runoff election

By Randy Bell

Chapman swearing in

In a rain-soaked August 23 runoff, voters in Clinton’s Ward 3 chose Robert Chapman as their new alderman. Chapman, the public information officer and webmaster for the Clinton Public School District, defeated attorney Ronnie Morton by about eighty votes to fill the vacancy on the Board created by the death of long-time alderman Bill Barnett in June.


“I’m really humbled to know that Ward 3 voted for me,” Chapman said moments after the results were announced. “But it’s also a lot of pressure on my shoulders, because I want to live up to their expectations. I’m exceptionally excited. I’m ready to move forward. I’m ready to see what we can bring forth to the City and how I can play my part to help.”


Just under 500 votes were cast, compared to 645 in the first election August 2, which featured a field of five candidates. And while there’s usually a drop in the turnout for a runoff, the wet weather may have discouraged some people from getting out to vote. But Chapman spent the entire day standing under an umbrella waving to voters as they drove past heading to and from the polling place at Traceway Park.


One of his first priorities on the Board will be the City’s street paving program.


“I want to find out some information about that,” Chapman said. “I’d like to see what the future holds.” He also plans to focus on parks and recreation and public safety.


And Chapman believes the Board made a smart move in April to opt out of a new state law which legalizes medical marijuana.


“At the time, I think it was the right decision,” he said, because it gave the aldermen the opportunity to gather more information on the pros and cons of the issue. And now as the City considers whether to opt back in to head off a medical marijuana referendum, Chapman says he is keeping an open mind.


“One thing that I’ve discovered through talking to the aldermen during this campaign is that they work very much together as a team. I very much want to hear what the others have gathered and piece that information together to make a wise decision rather than just a rash decision.”


After hearing the runoff results, Morton congratulated Chapman and looked back on his six-week campaign.


“We worked hard, walked the streets, met a lot of people,” said Morton. “That was really one of the most rewarding things about all of this, is getting to see Clinton in a different way, a different light and meeting different people.”


He had trailed Chapman by about 100 votes in the first election and closed the gap some in the runoff but said, “It was an insurmountable lead to overcome. I’m proud of the campaign we ran, but it wasn’t enough.”

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