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Lockhart returns as Forest Park mayor, wards 1 and 2 in Dec. 3 runoff

Mayor David Lockhart

Mayor David Lockhart

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Ward 2 candidate Dabouze Antoine in runoff with Luke Gawel.

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Ward 2 candidate Luke Gawel in runoff with Dabouze Antoine.

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Ward 1 incumbent Tommy Smith in runoff with Kimberly James.

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Ward 1 candidate in runoff with incumbent Tommy Smith.

FOREST PARK — David Lockhart, elected mayor in a special election in April, was returned to office for a full four-year term Tuesday night, beating two opponents to win outright.

There will be a runoff in wards 1 and 2 since no one candidate earned enough votes to take the offices outright.

Ward 1 incumbent Tommy Smith got 88 votes to challenger Kimberly James’ 82. Third-place Darnell Moorer got 41 votes.

In Ward 2, the top vote-getters were Dabouze Antoine with 133 and Luke Gawel with 96. Antoine, who turned in stacks of absentee ballots he collected from Forest Park voters by going door to door, got the bulk of his numbers from those ballots.

He got 27 early ballots and just 33 votes Tuesday. Gawel got five absentee votes, 35 early votes and 56 on Election Day.

The other Ward 2 candidates were Carl Evans and Deverick Williams, each with 32 votes.

Sheena Lowe, who dropped out of the race, still garnered 11 votes.

The four candidates will face off again Dec. 3.

Lockhart gave an impromptu acceptance speech inside the recreation center after the numbers were announced, urging Mayor Pro Tem Linda Lord to join the rest of the council in creating a unified front.

“We’ve had one dissenting vote on council,” he said. “Come on in, Ms. Lord, the water’s fine.”

Lockhart beat former Mayor Pro Tem Sparkle Adams, who got 328 votes, and retired Public Works Director Mike Gippert, who got 216. Lockhart got 569 votes, including 101 absentee and 206 early ballots.

It was Adams’ fifth campaign.

“I’m at peace with the decision,” she said. “What God has for me is the greater question.”

Gippert, James and Antoine left without commenting on the results.

For Smith and Gawel, the results mean hitting the streets one more time.

“I’ve gotta work harder,” said Smith. “I’ve gotta try to get the votes that Darnell got and get them on my side. I’ve got more work to do.”

Gawel said he was pleased, given it was his first political run.

“It’s a great win for my first opportunity at a political run,” he said. “I’m excited about the help I had, the grassroots effort and support I had. I look forward to Dec. 3 but right now, I’m going home to take a nap.”

Lockhart said he believes the results prove there is hope for the future of Forest Park.

“The council is working well together,” he said. “I’m humbled at the support I received. It’s not lost on me, the responsibility and the trust the voters have given me. I will do all I can to make sure I earn what they have paid for in advance. We’ve got two seats in a runoff but I’m already encouraged by what we’ve got. We’re on the right track.”