Flint gets new mayor as Sheldon Neeley defeats Karen Weaver

By  | 

FLINT (WJRT) (11/5/2019) -- Flint will have a new mayor.

Sheldon Neeley defeated Karen Weaver at the polls to win the Flint mayor seat.

Term-limited State Rep. Sheldon Neeley defeated incumbent Mayor Karen Weaver on Tuesday. Neeley received 7,082 votes to 6,877 for Weaver, according to totals from the Genesee County Clerk's Office.

"Third time's a charm, but I'm here now," a jubilant Neeley said at his victory party at the White Horse Tavern.

He said the campaign was difficult for him.

"We didn't have the star power. We didn't have the money," Neeley said. "We didn't do anything negative. We were very professional and positive in our campaign. That speaks very well for this community, because they made a decision to support a candidate that was not negative, that didn't have much money, that didn't have to bring in stars to be able to woo their votes over to one side."

Weaver, however, was not ready to concede defeat Tuesday night. She was considering a request for a recount.

"I wouldn't rule it out," Weaver said of the prospects for seeking a recount.

She was disappointed with the low voter turnout.

Neeley is planning to assemble a transition team right away to make sure the city's services continue uninterrupted. He also plans to assemble an operational audit of the city's services and a financial audit.

"The residents will always have a clear vision and path for what we're going to be doing," Neeley said. "So they'll be able to look at what we're going to be doing, and so they'll be able to look at where we're going to be going. Transparency is important."

Weaver served one term as mayor and survived a recall attempt in November 2017. She was elected mayor in 2015 as the Flint water crisis was affecting the entire city and the state still managed most day-to-day city affairs.

As mayor, she oversaw the transition back to local control from state-appointed emergency managers and recovery from the Flint water crisis, including management of the citywide project to replace 22,000 lead water service lines.

Weaver also pushed for the City Council to approve a 30-year water supply contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit, which was approved in 2017.

Neeley, who previously sat on the Flint City Council, is completing his third term as state representative in Lansing. He is unable to seek re-election to the Michigan House due to term limits.

The ongoing recovery from the water emergency was an important issue in the election.

“We have made progress in the city of Flint, but we have a ways to go. Let's rebuild Flint together to be the city that we imagine, and know that it can be," Weaver said during an exclusive ABC 12 Mayoral Debate in October.

Neeley said there was a lack of community trust in the recovery efforts.
He laid out his areas of focus during the debate.

“Residential, recreation, economics, education, and safety is my platform. Those are the five points of light."

The winner will serve a three-year term until 2022, when Flint transitions to holding mayoral elections on even-numbered years that coincide with Michigan’s gubernatorial elections.