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Fourth consecutive first term mayor elected by Carthage residents Tuesday

By Eddie West

Staff Writer

A series of first term mayors countinues as residents elected Councilman Stephen “Steve” Babcock to become the town’s next mayor.

Babcock becomes the fourth first term mayor elected in four consecutive city elections. 

The last Carthage mayor to win consecutive races was longtime mayor David Bowman. The mayoral seat is a four year term.

Babcock won by a comfortable margin over fellow Councilman Cole Ebel and sitting Mayor Sarah Marie Smith.

Babcock received 294 votes  to Ebel’s 172 votes. Incumbent Mayor Smith place third with 154 votes.

During the past four years, it has been anything but typical business as usual at city hall as Mayor Smith often clashed with the city’s council on a variety of issues.

Council members also often clashed with one another over various issues.

The win for Mayor-elect Babcock wasn’t a surprise as many Carthage residents displayed their support of the councilman with yard signs.

Results of the election are set to be certified on Monday, November 21.

Mayor-elect Babcock is the latest in a succession of first term mayors for the town which dates back to 2010.

In November of 2018, Mayor Smith defeated then Mayor Donnie R. Dennis by a narrow margin.

Just four years prior (November 2014), former Mayor Dennis defeated former Mayor Sabra Hodge.

Former Mayor Hodge defeated three other candidates in November of 2010, including the last mayor to hold the seat for more than a one year term (former Mayor David Bowman).

Longtime former Mayor David Bowman finished second in that race. Other candidates in that election included Dale Shoemake and Emily Thackxton.

Former Mayor Bowman, who was on the city’s council when he decided to run for mayor, was first elected to office in November of 1990.

In that race, former Mayor Bowman defeated Murphy Fair and Randy Bush.

At that time, the city had a law which required a run-off election if a candidate did not received 50 percent of the vote and if there were more than two candidates in the race.

In December of the same year, former Mayor Bowman defeated Fair in the run-off election.

After the election, the city’s council abolished the process of a run-off election.

Many residents didn’t feel it was necessary for a second election to be held when a candidate had already won the first election.

Had the law still been in place today, there would have been a run-off election between Mayor-elect Babcock, who received 47.34 percent of the total vote and Councilman Ebel who received 27.70 percent of the vote. Mayor Smith received 24.80 percent of the vote.

When former Mayor Bowman won his first election, former Mayor James Clay held the seat but did not seek re-election.

Former Mayor Bowman was re-elected in November of 1994, defeating challenger Glenn Pettross, again in November of 1998 when he faced no opposition candidate. In November of 2002, former Mayor Bowman defeated challenger Carthage businessman Dan Hodge. In November of 2006, the former mayor defeated Randy Dennis, before losing his re-election bid in November of 2010 to former Mayor Sabra Hodge.


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