Incumbent Norm Archibald narrowly beat challenger Robert Briley in the battle for Abilene mayor Saturday, complete but unofficial returns show.
Briley led much of the night, even having a 65-vote lead with 88 percent of the precincts reporting, but Archibald, who has served as mayor for 10 years, pulled it out in the end.
Archibald claimed 4,582 votes (51 percent), while Briley garnered 4,450 votes (49 percent), vote totals showed.
Afterward, Archibald said he knew the race would be close “because I know a lot of people, he knows a lot of people.”
“I knew people who know him would vote for him and my friends would be voting for me,” Archibald said. “I am sure there were a lot of undecided people along the way. I think that shows we had two good candidates in this race – and I am real happy to be the winner tonight."
Archibald said Briley is a “good man” who has a “great heart for Abilene.”
“And I know he will continue to do good things,” Archibald said.
After the final results were announced, Briley sat at a piano with a few young children as supporters gathered around him and sang along with him to show their continued support.
Finally, though, Briley moved to the kitchen to address the somber crowd, noting he doesn’t have any hard feelings toward Archibald.
Briley also took time to mention his biggest supporter – his wife – and said he is disappointed about losing but is happy they will now have the time to travel together.
“I want to thank everyone here,” Briley said. “We need to totally 100 percent throw our support behind Norm. Norm is a good guy. What we will do is we will encourage him and we will pray for him.”
Meanwhile, Briley gave up his city council seat to run for mayor. Jay Hardaway ran for Briley’s Place 4 post and captured the position unopposed Saturday.
In the other contested Abilene City Council race, incumbent Place 3 City Council member Anthony Williams defeated Joseph Neal Cochran, claiming 77 percent of the vote.
In races for seats on the Abilene ISD Board of Trustees, Cindy Parker Earles garnered 59 percent of the vote and upended Danny Kittley to capture Place 4; Danny Wheat got 59 percent of the vote and defeated Samuel Garcia to win Place 5; and Dr. Kelvin Kelly received 58 percent of the vote and beat Andy Cleveland to claim Place 7.
For more election results for races in Abilene and the Big Country, CLICK HERE.