Meridian, Miss. Insurance agent Percy Bland has defeated incumbent Cheri Barry in the Meridian mayor's race. This is the breakdown of the unofficial totals from city hall Tuesday night.
Percy Bland (D) 5,056 54%
Cheri Barry (R) 4,059 43%
Wally Hudnall (I) 171 2%
Walter Patton (I) 49 1%
Barry was attempting to win a second term. She defeated Bland in 2009 by about 300 votes in their first runs for public office.
Below is the speech Bland made to his supporters Tuesday evening, as provided by the Bland campaign:
"It is a new day!
First, let me thank everyone who made tonight possible. I want to thank my family, volunteers, and everyone who came out to vote for me. This victory would not be possible without each and every one of you and I am forever grateful.
I want to thank Cheri Barry for her service to this city. She has worked hard. Meridian needs her continued service. I look forward to working with her during our transition.
Tonight, we made history in Meridian. White, black, young, and old, we came together and did what they said could never be done!
Tonight, it is impossible not to pause for a few minutes to think about our past. We must always honor the past and honor those who sacrificed to make tonight possible. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner gave their lives so that black people in Meridian could vote. Tonight, 49 years after their deaths, people of all races elected Meridian’s first black Mayor.
But tonight is about the future. It’s about the future of everyone who lives in Meridian. It’s time for all of us to come together as ONE MERIDIAN. Unified and working together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
While I am humbled by tonight’s victory, I realize that not everybody voted for me. Some were very opposed to my candidacy. To those folks let me say this: I’m going to be the Mayor for everyone. I deeply care about the city. I believe that we all want to see a better Meridian where our streets are safer, our schools are even better, and our unemployment rate is much lower. We all want to see this city and our people prosper. To those who didn’t support me today, let’s put aside our political differences and come together. We will not always agree and we might occasionally fuss at one another... let’s always remember that at the end of the day, we share the same goal and are working for the same purpose – for a better Meridian.
United, there are no problems we cannot solve. Together, there are no mountains we cannot climb.
One Meridian – Working together."
Tonight is for celebration. The works starts tomorrow. Thank you again for your hard work, prayers and dedication.
God bless Meridian and everyone who lives here.