Young certified as winner in mayoral election, unseating incumbent Waddell
Philadelphia elects first African-American mayor
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:22 PM
James A. Young defeated incumbent Mayor Rayburn Waddell, 1,021-975, certified results from Tuesday's Democrat primary runoff election show.
Forty-four affidavit ballots were examined by the Democrat Executive Committee Wednesday starting at about 5 p.m., and only 15 were accepted.
Young, a former four-term county supervisor, Pentecostal minister and paramedic who led the county ambulance service for nearly two decades, unseated Waddell to become Philadelphia's first African-American mayor Tuesday with 51.15 percent of the vote.
Young, who campaigned for change in city government, declared Tuesday night as he claimed the win that his election is the beginning of a new era.
Young outpolled Waddell 218 to 190 votes in Ward 3, and 519 to 60 votes in Ward 4. Waddell won Ward 1 with 381 votes to Young's 136 and Ward 2 with 344 votes to Young's 148.
A small crowd of Young volunteers and supporters gathered at the Neshoba County Courthouse for the counting of th affidavit ballots that took about an hour.
Some of the ballots were rejected because of, among other things, voters were not registered at all, were registered but in the county or were registered at an address outside the ward in which they were casting their ballot.
On election night, shortly after the final box was counted about 8 p.m., Young said he was "just overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support he received during the campaign.
"A lot of hard work went into it to break the barriers that we've broken through this race - it's just unbelievable," Young said outside the law offices of Edward A. Williamson on Church Avenue where supporters had gathered.
"Philadelphia I think has finally begun to move into the age where we need to - not just because I am a black man, but I have served this community well. I've been honorable. And I will continue to do that.
"And I want to say to everybody, as I said during my campaign, I want to do what's right. I want to prove that the office of mayor can be done with some integrity and with righteousness and fairness for everyone in this city - red, yellow, black or white. This is the bottom line. This is the beginning of a new era in Philadelphia, Miss., and everybody is going to see that change has come to Philadelphia, Miss."
Thirty-nine percent of the city's 5,038 registered voters, or 1,990 people, cast ballots in Tuesday's second Democrat Primary.
Thirty-five percent voted in the first Democrat Primary on May 5 when Waddell, who was seeking a fourth term, outpolled Young by only 16 votes.
Young is unopposed in the general election on June 2.
Young called for change in city government during his campaign and cited his more than 30 years of experience in city and county affairs.
He pointed out his years of experience in health care in the community, noting that he was one of the first EMTs here and later became one of the first EMT-Paramedics.
Todd Mosley, his campaign organizer, said Young's election changed history.
"A few committed and positive voices can change history today. Philadelphia, Miss. won tonight. We have once and for all proven that 1964 is over. Only one candidate won this election but no one lost - an entire community won," Mosley said.
Young has 16 years of experience as District 5 supervisor and over 12 years on the Board of Directors for East Central Planning and Development District.
Most, if not all, grants for city and county governments are written through the planning district, he said during the campaign.
He called for a different approach to economic development and said as mayor, he would support the hospital and work with the Board of Supervisors to bring quality healthcare to the city and county. He cited a need for citizens and the police to work together to prevent and solve crimes.
Young said some areas of the city needed to be revitalized. He pledged to create and maintain good relationships with city employees and promised open and honest leadership.
Young and his wife, Sheryl, have one daughter, Shanda. He has served as the pastor of Calvary Apostolic Church in Louisville for 16 years.
Incumbent Alderman-at-Large Janice Payne, the Democrat nominee, will face Independent Judy Joyner Caverhill in the general election while Cecil Nichols, the Democrat nominee for Ward 4 alderman, will meet Mary D. Griffin, an Independent.
Incumbent aldermen Joe Tullos, of Ward 1; Roy White, of Ward 2; and Ronnie Jenkins, of Ward 3, do not face opposition in the general election.
Winners will take office on July 6.