By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, October 4, 2016, State Representative Darrio Melton (D-Selma) won the run-off election to be the next Mayor of Selma. Melton said that his election shows that the people of Selma prefer progress over stagnation.
Rep. Melton said in a statement, “I am both honored and humbled that the people of Selma have expressed faith in me to be their next mayor. I want to congratulate my opponent on a well-run campaign, and I want to thank everyone who has worked to get our message out to make this victory possible. I would be remiss if I did not especially thank my wife, Christi, for her support and steadfast partnership.”
Mayor-elect Melton continued, “I want to be clear: this is not just a win on the ballot. Tonight’s results are a clear demonstration that our City prefers progress over stagnation and remains determined to make Selma better each day than the day before. Selma has, for 50 years, been a beacon of hope and a symbol of the fusion of hard work and unwavering values. We can continue to build on this reputation and build a Selma we can all be proud to call home.”
Melton concluded, “We have so much work to do to move Selma forward, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
Melton defeated former Mayor James Perkins Jr. in the runoff election on Tuesday. Incumbent Mayor George Evans was defeated in the August election, finishing third out of five candidates. Evans had led Selma for the past eight years.
Melton had emphasized public safety in his campaign. Selma was ranked as the most dangerous city in Alabama in 2015 according to the website homesnacks based on FBI data after gang violence erupted in the small town.
The low point in the campaign occurred on September 16 when Melton and Alabama Power’s Selma office manager, Aubrey Carter, were shot at by two armed robbers while leaving a barbecue dinner.
Rep. Melton had 4,054 votes to former Mayor Perkins’ 2,549. Perkins who served from 2000 to 2008 was the first Black Mayor in Selma history.
Melton will be sworn in on November 7. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) will have to call a special election to fill Melton’s House seat. A recent ruling by federal judge Myron Thompson is expected to make it easier for independents and third party candidates to qualify for ballot access in special elections.
Rep. Melton is the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Original reporting by the Selma Times-Journal’s Blake Deshazo contributed to this report