***Update 8/25: Steve Ammons has withdrawn from the runoff for Vestavia Hills’ Place 4. More information is included below.
By William C. Singleton III
Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer is the only Over the Mountain mayor to retain his seat after his counterparts in Hoover and Vestavia Hills were defeated by first-time challengers during Tuesday’s municipal elections.
McBrayer handily defeated Homewood City Councilman Michael Hallman by an unofficial vote of 2,527 to 384.
Meanwhile, in Hoover, Mayor Gary Ivey lost to retired fire marshal Frank Brocato, earning 4,826 votes to Brocato’s 7,129. Steve McClinton finished third in the race for Hoover mayor, with 1,800 votes.
In Vestavia Hills, Mayor Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza fell to retired FBI agent Ashley Curry, 2,771 votes to 3,712.
In other Over the Mountain election developments, Hoover elected its first black city councilman, as school board President Derrick Murphy defeated former city chamber President Dan Ellis. And only two council seats in Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills will be on the Oct. 4 runoff ballot. In Hoover, the Council Place 1 race features Trey Lott and Curt Posey, and in Vestavia Hills, incumbent Steve Ammons will face challenger Paul J. Head for the Council Place 3 seat.
Newly elected mayors and council members take office in November.
After being elected to his third term as mayor, McBrayer thanked his supporters at New York Pizza Tuesday night and vowed to continue to help build on the great city Homewood has become.
“Obviously, we’re excited about the results,” he said. “It was a good night for us in Homewood. This is our third go-around as mayor, so I’m grateful the neighbors and residents still believe in our vision and where we’re trying to take the city of Homewood.”
McBrayer, who served on the council before being elected mayor, said the next four years will be devoted to finishing projects such as paving roads and building sidewalks and other projects that he said have made Homewood one of the best cities in which to live in Alabama and the country.
“We’ve got some more parks to look at building in different areas of town,” he said. “And I look forward to implementing our paving program that we’ve been working on.”
In Vestavia Hills, Zaragoza was introspective about the election, his time as mayor and his service to the city.
“I look at it as the citizens have spoken and they wanted a change in this community. We congratulate Ashley Curry. He ran a great campaign. The citizens have spoken, and we’ll move on,” Zaragoza said. “I’ve spent 47 years in this city. I hold my head up, and I’m very happy at what we accomplished in this community.”
Ivey said of his election defeat: “I’ve been a citizen of Hoover over 33 years, worked in public service with it over 20 years. I’ve enjoyed my time with it. I’ve already called Frank and wished him the best in office and if there’s anything I can do to help him with the transition, I was here for him.”
Ivey described his defeat as being a part of the anti-incumbency movement that swept the municipal election cycle.
“Based on what we’re seeing around town, it’s kind of an incumbent issue more than issues because there have been several incumbents around the county lose tonight.”
OTM City Council Results
Council President: Bruce Limbaugh (unopposed incumbent)
Ward 1 Place 1: Andy Gwaltney; Ward 1 Place 2: Britt Thames (incumbent); Ward 2 Place 1: Mike Higginbotham (unopposed); Ward 2 Place 2: Andrew Wolverton; Ward 3 Place 1: Patrick McClusky (unopposed incumbent); Ward 3 Place 2: Walter Jones (incumbent); Ward 4 Place 1: Barry Smith (incumbent); Ward 5 Place 1: Jennifer Andress; and Ward 5 Place 2: Peter Wright (incumbent).
Place 1: Curt Posey and Trey Lott are headed into a runoff; Place 2: Gene Smith (incumbent); Place 3: John Lyda (incumbent); Place 4: (Mike Shaw); Place 5: Derrick Murphy; Place 6: Casey Middlebrooks; and Place 7: John Greene (incumbent).
Place 2: Phillip Black.
Place 1: Dennis “Rusty” Weaver; Place 2: Kimberly Cook; Place 3: Paul Head; and Place 4: George Pierce (incumbent).