Mayor Tim Kent won a third four-year term as New Albany mayor Tuesday, turning back a challenge from Bill Robertson.
Kent got 1,163 votes to Robertson’s 904 in the Democratic primary, out polling Robertson in all four city wards. He received 56 percent of the vote. There was no Republican candidate.
When the final vote was announced in the Union County Courthouse, Kent said he was very relieved: “Most of all I am very humbled that the citizens of New Albany have decided to let me stay in office four more years.”
The mayor said he expects to continue to try to keep the city millage rate “as low as we possibly can” while continuing to recruit more diversified jobs to the city.
Robertson and Kent shook hands after the votes were tallied and Robertson offered the mayor his congratulations. Both men said the race was conducted in a clean fashion.
Both the mayor and Robertson did some newspaper advertising, and also relied on yard signs and door-to-door campaigning in city neighborhoods.
Robertson, a retired businessman, said he was disappointed because he thought he was a candidate with something to offer the city.
Before his election to the mayoral post in 2005, Kent served as an investigator and officer for the New Albany Police Department for 11 years and also worked for an insurance agency for 12 years prior to that.
He graduated from W.P. Daniel High School in 1975 and received degrees from Northeast Community College in 1977 and the University of North Alabama in 1980.
During his tenure as mayor, Kent worked closely with the Board of Aldermen, Union County Supervisors, Three Rivers Planning and Development District and the PUL Alliance to attract both Toyota and Vuteq to the county. The city also partnered with the county board of supervisors, as well as the City of Pontotoc, Pontotoc County, the city of Houston and Chickasaw County to form a partnership behind the creation of the Tanglefoot Trail.
Robertson graduated from W.P. Daniel High School, attended Mississippi State University and received a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Mississippi. He was an executive with Chevrolet sales division of General Motors Corporation for 10 years and a partner and general manager of a General Motors and Toyota franchised dealer. He was also the owner and manager of Hamilton Hardware Co. in New Albany, founded by his grandfather, for 20 years. He currently works as a financial consultant.
He is a past president of the UCDA, member of the Union County Historical Society, Main Street Association, founding committee member for the Park Along the River and served on the oversight committee for New Albany’s 1997 comprehensive plan.
Robertson trounces Golding
Chris Robertson was elected New Albany chief of police Tuesday, trouncing his opponent, County Medical Examiner Mark Golding, in what many had predicted would be a close race.
Robertson received 1,438 votes to 642 for Golding in the Democratic primary. There was no Republican candidate.
Robertson’s lopsided 69 percent of the vote seemed to shock some of those gathered for the vote tallying at the Union County Courthouse. Many observers said they expected a close race before the ballots were counted.
Robertson said after the results were announced that because it was his first race he had no idea what to expect.
“I’m just overwhelmed with emotion that New Albany citizens supported me the way they did,” he said. “I pledge that I will do the very best job I can.”
Robertson will succeed David Grisham, who has been New Albany chief since 1981. He decided not to seek re-election.
Robertson conducted a massive campaign that relied on heavy advertising in the Gazette, a direct-mail flyer, yard signs and door-to-door walking campaigns in most city neighborhoods.
Although Golding had the benefit of name recognition from prior county elections, his campaign failed to resonate with city voters.
Some observers said his campaign was hurt by his suggestion that he intended to keep Grisham on as an employee at the police department and that he did not intend to resign his medical examiner’s job if elected.
Robertson, 38, who currently serves as an investigator in the New Albany Police Department, has more than 15 years of law enforcement experience. He began his professional career as a deputy for the Union County Sheriff’s Department under former Sheriff Joe Bryant. After two years with the department, he was hired onto the NAPD as a patrolman.
During his years of employment with the police department, Robertson has served in a number of roles, including criminal investigator, firearms and taser instructor, education coordinator and has served on the city’s special weapons and tactical unit.
Robertson received a degree in criminal justice from the University of Mississippi and served as an intern for the United States Marshal Service of the Northern District of Mississippi.
Golding, 46, is a 1985 graduate of East Union Attendance Center and a 1994 graduate of North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy. He has 21 years of law enforcement experience, as well as 13 years’ experience as the chief medical examiner for Union County.
During that time, Golding has served as deputy for the Union County Sheriff’s Department and began working for the New Albany Police Department, where he currently serves as lieutenant. He has worked and investigated a variety of crimes and has been trained in every aspect of law enforcement, including crime scene investigation and death scene investigation.