Political newcomer Devyn Keith takes first round in bid to replace Huntsville Councilman Richard Showers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Longtime north Huntsville City Councilman Richard Showers finished second in Tuesday’s municipal election and now faces a runoff with challenger Devyn Keith.

Keith, a political newcomer, won 42 percent of the vote Tuesday to Showers’ 29 percent. Michelda Johnson finished third with 25 percent of the vote.

There were 4,343 votes cast in the race, according to Huntsville city election figures. Robert Hewlett Jr. finished fourth with 108 votes and Peter Proctor got 65 votes.

Devyn Keith placed first in the race for District 1 City Council on Aug. 23. However, he didn't get enough votes to avoid a runoff.  The race is now between Keith and incumbent Richard Showers.

Devyn Keith placed first in the race for District 1 City Council on Aug. 23. However, he didn't get enough votes to avoid a runoff. The race is now between Keith and incumbent Richard Showers.

Keith said the results showed District 1 voters are ready for a change.

“I think the most unique thing about it was 70 percent of the district wants change in some way,” Keith told WHNT News 19 Wednesday.

He stressed his candidacy is focused on a plan for the district.

“You’re not voting for Devyn Keith, you’re voting for a plan,” Keith said. “We’ve been blessed. As you can see, the majority of the constituents who came out and voted, voted for change.”

Showers, who was first elected in 1988, said he was excited about the race ahead.

“I was hoping that we would not have had a runoff, in that we do, we’re going to work hard, we’re going to stay with our record,” Showers said.

Showers pointed to road projects in the district - at the intersection of Mastin Lake and Memorial Parkway, the Mastin Lake overpass, the northern bypass – that he said will create jobs and spur growth.

Richard Showers is running for re-election as District 1's representative on the Huntsville City Council.

Richard Showers was first elected in 1988. He pledges a tough race ahead.

Showers also said he’s been part of the city’s successful job creation efforts.

“This administration, with the support of the council, brought many jobs to the city of Huntsville, that all of our citizens, those who live in north Huntsville and around, can have good paying opportunities, and there are more jobs to come,” he said.

Showers was critical of Keith’s campaign and pledged a tough race ahead.

“I intend to let this district know the kinds of things he did and the reason that he did, to sway the minds and the hearts of the people who reside in District 1,” Showers said.

Keith detailed some of the changes he believes are needed for the district.

“With respect to the leadership we’ve had the past 28 years,” Keith said, “we think it’s time to shift the plan to increase economic value when it comes to our property, to increase infrastructure, and really bring back business retail in that north side.

“We want to make north Huntsville the choice for individuals, not just a place of convenience.”

Johnson’s 25 percent of the vote is an attractive target for both candidates heading into the Oct. 4 runoff.

Showers complimented Johnson’s campaign, saying she ran a clean race.

“Michelda Johnson, when I’m at the end of this term, I certainly can support her to continue to lead District 1 forward,” Showers said.

Keith said the challengers to Showers share a similar vision.

“We truly are going to take those individuals who ran against Mr. Showers as well,” he said, “take a lot of the wisdom they have from their perspectives, mix it in our own plan. So that we have a conglomerate when we come back to the polls Oct. 4, they’re all voting for a new plan and change in north Huntsville.”