Decatur mayoral candidates advance to runoff election

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 DECATUR, Ala – A mayor has not won reelection in the City of Decatur since 1994.   A crowded field of seven candidates was narrowed to just two after Tuesday night’s election results came in.  To avoid a runoff, a candidate for mayor must get 50% plus one of the overall votes.

According to the city’s Facebook page, incumbent Mayor Tab Bowling received 47.81% of the vote. William ‘Butch’ Matthews received 17.08%.

Mayor Bowling says he’s optimistic about the election, even though he’s facing a runoff.

“It’s pretty obvious the residents of Decatur would like us to serve for another four years, so we’re really excited about that opportunity, but we have to earn it,” Bowling said.

He’ll face William ‘Butch’ Matthews. Matthews served on the Decatur city council from 1992-1996. He also ran for mayor in 2002 and 2016. This is his first time making it to a runoff in the mayor’s race. News 19 asked Matthews for an interview Wednesday. He declined, but said he is very thankful to have made it to the runoff election.

Decatur also voted in four new city council members.

With the city as co-defendant in a lawsuit to get 3M to clean up contamination in the Tennessee river, News 19 asked Bowling how he thought the new members could affect the suit.

“We’re thankful that 3M and ADEM have come to an agreement to help clean up our city and now we have this other leg to go where we’re kind of in a unique position as it relates to 3M. I don’t know where this council will go, we will have to find out,” he said.

One of the new council members, 18-year-old Hunter Pepper, has said he doesn’t know enough about the lawsuit to be able to have an opinion on it. News 19 asked Bowling if the newly elected council’s lack of experience with the lawsuit concerns him as the city moves forward in the legal process.

“They’ll go through an orientation with all the different departments that we have here at city hall, that’s how, whenever I had the opportunity to come in and start serving the city four years ago, I went through an orientation with all the department heads. And so, that’s how you make this kind of transition. They’ll learn,” Bowling said.

More than one million gallons of wastewater overflowed from manholes this year as Decatur Utilities works to update their plan to address drainage. Bowling says, if reelected, he also wants to make sure road repair is addressed while pipes are replaced.

“So, we’ve got to be right behind them resurfacing after the pipe bursting is done,” he said.

According to 2019 Census data, more than 54,000 people live in Decatur. Only 8,366 votes were cast for mayor in Tuesday’s municipal election.

The runoff election is in October.

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