Latasha Johnson elected new Mayor of Eutaw

City Councilwoman Latasha Johnson was elected Mayor of Eutaw in Tuesday’s Municipal Runoff Election. She defeated incumbent Mayor Raymond Steele by 718 (57.7%) to 526 (42.3%) votes.
Johnson carried each polling place in Eutaw, including the Absentee Box, with the exception of the National Guard Armory, District 5 polling place.
Valerie “Nippy” Watkins with 149 (54.5%) votes defeated Chondra Mayes with 124 (45.5%) votes in the other runoff election for City Council District No. 1.
A total of 1,244 (50.7%) voters turned out for this runoff election, only 25 more than in the first primary.
Johnson was endorsed by her three opponents in the first primary, including Joe Lee Powell, Sandra Walker and Queena Bennett Whitehead, which helped her to overcome Steele’s lead in the first round.
Many voters seemed disillusioned by the incumbent mayor’s response to problems with meter readings and billing in the city’s Water Department. Mayor Steele had turned away representatives of Water Management Associates, a consulting firm that the Eutaw City Council had voted 5 to 0 to employ to correct the problems in the water system.
Voters were also distressed by Steele’s operating the city without a budget and audits of finances and often making important decisions on his own without consulting with city council members.
Latasha Johnson thanked her supporters assembled outside the Eutaw City Hall to receive the election results. “I am grateful for the support of my friends and supporters. I will have an open-door policy as Mayor and welcome people to come and meet with me to discuss plans and ideas, whether they agree or disagree with me. I will seek help and accept advice in running our city,” said Johnson.
The new Mayor and City Council members will take office early in November and she will preside as Mayor at the first regular City Council meeting on the second Tuesday in November 10, 2020. The Council will consist of four new members and one returning member, LaJeffrey Carpenter, District 2. The new members are: Valerie Watkins, District 1; Tracy Hunter, District 3; Larry Coleman, District 4; and Jacqueline Stewart, District 5.