Louise Aikens was certified as the next representative of Abbeville City Council’s District 1 after vote tallies did not change from a recount Friday morning.
State law mandates that votes be recounted if the margin between two candidates is less than 1%. In Tuesday’s election for City Council, Aikens received 59 votes to Bartavia Hill’s 58.
The special election was called after Councilman Gus Wilson died in March. The race initially featured three candidates, none of whom secured more than 50% of the vote May 28, which led to Tuesday’s runoff between Aikens and Hill.
Aikens said she was nervous going into Tuesday’s election, given the turnout on May 28.
“It was only 88, 89 voters,” she said. “And I know special elections are slow, but I didn’t think that they would be that slow.”
Hill said she was not upset with the outcome.
“I’m celebrating with my daughter. I feel like I did a hell of a job,” she said. “I truly and honestly wish her (Aikens) the best, that she will make the best decisions for the people. And I am sure she will try to do that.”
When asked how she had eked out the victory, Aikens said, “Lots of hard work.”
“I was working up until the last hour,” she continued. “I was just trying to get people involved. ‘This is your life, and let’s do this thing.’”
Aikens will be sworn in at the next city council meeting, July 9.
Although she is already putting together a list of issues she’d like to see on future meeting agendas, many of them brought to her by people she had met while campaigning, Aikens said she has a lot to learn.
“I’m the new kid on the block,” Aikens said. “I attend council meetings, but that’s just the surface. I don’t know anything about executive (session) and all of that. ... I just want to feel my way, ease my way, sit back and observe.”
“All the candidates ran a real good campaign, and it truly lets you know that every vote counts,” Mayor Delano Freeman said. “Hats off to Ms. Hill and congratulations to Ms. Aikens. ... We’ll welcome her on the board and get her ready for life as a councilman.”
“I can’t please all of the people,” Aikens said. “Only think I can say is, I’m going to do my best.”
I truly and honestly wish her the best, that she will make the best decisions for the people. and I am sure she will try to do that.