By considerable margins, the three incumbents with opposition won re-election Tuesday in the race for aldermen at-large in Franklin’s municipal election.
Clyde Barnhill, Brandy Blanton and Pearl Bransford withstood their challengers by at least 60% in the final tallies, winning over Howard Garrett, Michelle Sutton and Bhavani Muvvala, respectively, to hold their seats for at least another four years. Anne Petersen also won in her unopposed bid for alderman at-large, and Mayor Ken Moore won after also being without an opponent.
A total of 3,799 voters cast ballots in the election, with 1,990 doing so on election day Tuesday. There were 1,689 early votes and 120 absentee ballots, bringing the margin to 7.2% of 52,812 registered voters.
Bransford had the easiest path of the three incumbents, winning by 82% over Muvvala. She had 2,944 votes to his 629. Blanton defeated Sutton by 2,239 to 1,407 votes, or 61%.
Barnhill’s margin of victory was tightest of the three, winning over Garrett by 60% (2,183 to 1,429). Barnhill had a lead of 65% after early voting, and Garrett was able to narrow the margin some from Tuesday’s votes.
“I campaigned more in this election than I have in the other three put together,” Barnhill said.
“The last time I ran unopposed, and the other two times we had a different way of voting,” Barnhill continued, referring to when aldermen at-large were elected by the top four vote-getters instead of the current method.
Barnhill acknowledged that Garrett ran a solid campaign.
“Everywhere I went he had also been there. He had been knocking on doors, and it looked to me like he had a pretty good effort with pretty good grassroots. I doubt if we’ve heard the last of him.”
Barnhill and Bransford won all their precincts, while Sutton took four from Blanton — Fire/Rescue Station #24, Cool Springs East Clubhouse, Millview Church of Christ and The Gate Community Church.
Election day also featured the new paper ballot voting machines the Williamson County Election Commission purchased earlier this year. They were used during early voting, and Tuesday gave something of an assessment of how they performed on an election day.
“I think generally speaking it’s been good,” Chad Gray, Williamson County administrator of elections, said. “I think people are really pleased that we have a paper component to voting.”