Less than 200 votes determined the winner of Murray’s mayoral election Tuesday night. Voters chose Jack Rose to replace Mayor Bill Wells with a difference of only 149 ballots.
Rose, former professor in the department of educational studies, was the only candidate running against Wells. Rose will take his position at the beginning of January.
“Well, I feel very honored and humbled by the support,” Rose said. “Unseating an incumbent who’s been there just one term isn’t easy.”
As the precinct numbers came in, Wells and Rose said they weren’t sure who would take the mayoral seat this year.
“It was a rollercoaster,” Wells said. “I was up by 21 or something, then it changed.”
Wells said although he was surprised he came in second this year, he’s proud of the campaign he ran. He served 20 years on the Murray City Council before he ran for mayor four years ago.
He noted the accomplishments Murray has received since he became mayor, including being named the Friendliest Small Town in America by USA TODAY and lifting the ban on packaged liquor in Murray.
“I will always be happy about the positive campaign I ran,” Wells said. “I really hope for the best in Murray.”
Audrey Kellett, senior from Murray, said she was surprised Wells was not re-elected. Kellett said she voted for Wells because she knew he was mayor for several years and didn’t know either candidates’ political stance. She said in hindsight, she wishes she voted for Rose.
“I don’t really have a problem with the way things were going in Murray,” she said. “But (Rose) would be a new person and bring in new, fresh ways of doing things that might help improve the city.”
Rose worked for Murray State for 23 years before retiring in July 2014. Rose also served as the Faculty Regent at Murray State and resigned in March 2013.
As mayor, Rose said he hopes to have a true open-door policy. He said he’s received several complaints that in the past that it’s been difficult to contact the mayor. He also wants to hold open meetings where Murray citizens and groups can voice their opinions about issues in the city.
The most important item on Rose’ agenda so far is getting a handle on Murray’s budget. He wants to start attracting new sources of revenue to the city.
“Right now, we’re not getting as many new businesses and industries as we could,” he said.
Caleb Brannon, freshman from Puryear, Tenn., said he knew the race for mayor was going to be close from talking to Murray locals.
“Everybody I talked to was split, so I didn’t know for sure who was going to win,” Brannon said. “I have talked to Wells before and I know he’s a good guy, but what it comes down to basically, I think, is that people wanted change and not just have the same people running the city.”