Henderson voters have elected Melissa Elliott as their next mayor, making her the first female and the first Black to lead the city.
Elliott, a member of the Henderson City Council, defeated political newcomer Greg Etheridge in Tuesday’s runoff election by 344 votes.
WIZS News called the race just before 8:30 p.m., an hour after the polls closed. Elliott garnered 1,527 votes, compared to Etheridge’s 1,183 votes from the city’s nine precincts.
Elliott joined WIZS News in the studio shortly after 9:15 p.m. to discuss the historic win.
“I’m elated…overwhelmed with joy,” Elliott said, of the election outcome.
She thanked her opponent for what she called a “high-spirited campaign,” and she thanked those who voted for her.
“I am a servant leader,” Elliott said, and she plans to serve the community at-large and all people.
“Everyone was so wonderful…so much encouragement,” she said. There were “so many people that wouldn’t allow me to quit. I’m thankful for this historic moment in time,” but she said she also looks to the future for the city.
When reached by phone after all precincts had reported, Etheridge said he was disappointed with the outcome.
“The voters have spoken,” he told WIZS News in a telephone interview.
He said he and his supporters handled themselves respectably during the campaign, but added that he hasn’t “seen a sense of urgency to have any plan whatsoever on how to make things safer (or) more affordable for anybody” in the city.
His vision for the city is still alive, he said. “How we accomplish it is just going to be a little different.”