MANSFIELD -- Democratic candidate Alomar Davenport is no longer unopposed in the Nov. 5 election to represent the 4th Ward on Mansfield City Council.
Two 4th Ward residents filed today to be write-in candidates for the seat, currently held by Walden "Butch" Jefferson, who Davenport defeated in the April primary.
Brenda Collins-Vaughn, 469 Howard St., and Gerald Strouth, 516 Bryden Road, both met today's 4 p.m. deadline to file paperwork, declaring their intention to run as a write-in in the general election.
It's the first time either candidate has run for elected office.
Their names will not appear on the ballot, according to Paulette Hankins, the local board of elections director.
Voters using electronic voting machines would see the word "Write-In" on the line under Davenport's name. The voter will hit the box (rectangle) beside the word "Write-in," which would bring up a keyboard on the screen they would use to write in the name of the person for whom they would like to vote. Those using a paper ballot would need to write-in the candidates' names.
"I feel like the residents of the 4th Ward are asking for someone to stand up as a write-in candidate," Collins-Vaughn said. "I have bounced the idea around for awhile. I thought maybe I would run in the next election, but now might be as good a time as any.
Collins-Vaughn, who describes her as a Democrat, helped to spearhead the "Movies in the Park" program this summer for the city's Parks & Recreation Department.
Collins-Vaughn, 44, said her decision to run has nothing to do with the recent controversy surrounding Davenport, who was ticketed by Mansfield police on Aug. 15 for an improper turn and driving without a license. Davenport spoke out after the incident, which involved two officers pulling their guns during the stop.
Davenport, 42,575 Stocking Ave. called for a public meeting after the incident, scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center.
"I have absolutely no comment on that," she said. "This is nothing personal. I just feel like we need another option in the 4th Ward."
Strouth, 64, is the station manager for Mansfield Ambulance Service. A registered Republican, Strouth described himself as a conservative. He said he wanted to bring common sense to City Council.
"(After) reading the article in Richland Source about the Democratic candidate, I think we need more integrity at City Council. I personally don't know the guy, but I think we need someone with more integrity," Strouth said.
Strouth said he would like to see an improved relationship between residents and local law enforcement.
"I personally don't think the police department is getting a fair shake. There will always be (an officer) that has a wrong attitude and that needs to be corrected. Just because they wear a badge, that doesn't make them bad people," Strouth said.
Strouth said he will map out a campaign plan after speaking to those who had recommended he run for the office.
"I just signed up today. I gotta get with a few people," he said.