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Craighead wins second term as mayor
Nov 07, 2012 4:50 pm
Incumbent Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead won a convincing victory over challenger Bob O'Brien on Tuesday.
Craighead received 6,011 votes, or 65 percent of the vote, while O'Brien received 2,945 votes, or 31 percent of the total ballots. The third candidate for the post, David Kievernagel, who ran into some misdemeanor police charges, received 258 votes.
At his election watch party at a local hotel, supporters reported that when it became apparent that Craighead was going to win his words were, "thank you, thank you, thank you."
With victory assured, Craighead was able to take a deep breath and looked forward to not being on the campaign trail.
"I am wore out, but it was a good clean race," he said, already thinking about getting back to work.
"It was long race and I'm glad that it's over," he said. "I'm ready to embrace the new council that was elected, get them the information on the budget, answer their questions and bring them up to date on where we're trying to do."
Craighead ran on his record of bringing businesses like Amazon to the city despite the recession.
Despite his personal victory, the proposed half cent sales tax increase, that Craighead estimated would generate approximately $3.5 million for the city, went down to defeat with more than 63 percent voting against it.
Craighead said during the campaign that the sales tax referendum was a way to take the need for increased revenue off city residents as much as possible since everyone who shops here will pay the higher rate.
"It's bittersweet," he said of the failure of the sales tax increase. "You work hard to get the word out about what you feel would be a benefit to the city. But it's hard to talk to 8,000 or 9,000 people. The people I talked with had a very good response."
Despite the failure of the so-called Pennies for Progress plan, Craighead said he is ready to move forward.
"We'll go back and look where we are with the budget and see what our options are and see where this council will wants to take us," he said.
At the end of the long election day the mayor sat down with his wife, Darlene, his mother, Marie, and a slice of Mississippi mud pie. His mother was beaming and making plans for the extra "Craighead for Mayor" T-shirts.
"She wore out another telephone calling people for me," Craighead said of his mom.
He said he had seen O'Brien earlier in the evening, and his opponent was gracious in defeat.
"He was very good,' Craighead said.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.