Times staff report
On Tuesday, 24-year-old Brandon Dean became the youngest mayor in the City of Brighton’s history, winning in a field of five candidates including incumbent mayor Barbara E. Watkins.
“The mandate we received in being able to secure a majority in an [election] filled with candidates is overwhelming,” Dean said. “In addition . . . I was able to bring in a coalition of new members of the City Council. I think that citizens were able to examine this race and what the consequences of getting it wrong would be . . . so they chose for very unselfish reasons to elect new leadership that will give a new energy to our government.”
Dean also addressed reports that authorities are investigating potentially fraudulent applications for absentee ballots in the race. Dean told AL.com that he was the person being investigated.
On Wednesday, Dean told the The Birmingham Times “there was never a situation in which any ballots were marked, misinterpreted or intercepted to reflect something other than what voters wanted. The allegations in the investigations involve applications, but no actual ballots.”
He added, “We were getting people to participate in early voting and some absentee voting. We do need to be clear that we are only discussing a discrepancy with applications for ballots, not with the ballots themselves . . . but I also recognize that this protest was inspired by my opposition who felt threatened by the amount of participation we were getting.”
Dean said he’s ready to get to work.
“I know exactly what we have to do,” he said. “I have made contact with city hall, the police chief to make sure they are able to reach me and heads of departments are able to reach me to begin discussions about what they want to happen in the next administration.”
In other area elections, Edward May II and Johnnie Wyatt are headed to an Oct. 4 runoff in Fairfield after competition in a six-person field. However, the city will have a new council president after Eddie Penny defeated incumbent Darnell Gardner.
In Homewood, incumbent Mayor Scott McBrayer was reelected overwhelmingly; in Midfield, incumbent Mayor Gary Richardson was reelected; in Hoover, Frank Brocato unseated incumbent Mayor Gary Ivey with 51.8 percent of the vote in a three-man race.