Johnson wins, Marty gone

Larry B. Johnson took an early lead in the City Council District 4 run-off and never looked back. He beat incumbent Marty Donovan, 1296-819. Donovan got 37% of the vote in the Nov. 4 General Election. He got 39% in the run-off. It’s a sound defeat – not of Whitehead proportions, but a solid loss.

Incumbent Ronald Townsend defeated Jacci Shumaker, 432-244, in the District 7 run-off for the second time in four years. The two faced off in 2004, too.

Johnson’s win is another victory for the 40-somethings. He worked hard and it paid off. Marty’s own antics – including his opposition to the park that cost us three years – hurt him. He had lost all touch with his district.

Townsend’s victory puts considerable pressure on him and his fellow African-American council members, John Jerralds and Jewel Cannada-Wynn. Are they ready to truly lead? They have been content to let Jack Nobles guide them. At times, it even looked like Townsend waited for Nobles to vote before he did. Will this group take the time to understand the issues or will they continue to accept staff recommendations? Will they remain a bloc of votes that staff can continue to count on?

Everyone is curious about how DeWeese, Pratt, Mack and Johnson will fit in under the new mayor, Mike Wiggins. I think the Townsend, Jerralds and Cannada-Wynn are the ones to watch. If they don’t step up, you can expect them to have more credible opposition in 2010.