MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Voters elected a living challenger over a deceased incumbent, who still managed to garner a sizeable chunk of the vote, in a runoff Tuesday for the Mobile City Council.
News outlets report that William Carroll defeated deceased Mobile City Council member Levon Manzie. Manzie died last month after an extended illness, but his name was still on the ballot in mostly Black District 2, which Carroll once represented.
Carroll won with 1,464 votes, or 57% of the vote, according to FOX10. Manzie, even though he is deceased, received 1,100 votes, or 43% of the vote.
Another election would have been held if Manzie had won. WKRG-TV reported there were still posters and banners throughout the district asking voters to support Manzie. They include some that say “Our friend would still want to win” and others that say “Honor Levon's legacy.”
Manzie received more than twice as many votes as Carroll in the first election, which included six candidates. Carroll and supporters claim an out-of-town political action committee controlled by white Republicans was still pushing Manzie as a candidate.
“These signs I believe are part of this PAC that is providing this work, to me there’s something not just right about this PAC. That’s why I say it’s time to heal District 2,” said Carroll.
Both Manzie and Carroll are Black, and the head of the local chapter of the NAACP recorded a video that was released by Carroll's campaign claiming that conservative activists are attempting to manipulate voters by promoting Manzie, a well-respected pastor, following his death.
“His legacy will continue only through fair and just elections without the interference of special interest influence,” said the chapter president, Robert Clopton.
Manzie opposed an annexation plan promoted by the city administration, Clopton said, and proponents are trying to get someone elected who will flip Manzie's vote and back the proposal.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson appointed Manzie's mother, Jeanette Manzie, to serve the rest of her son’s current term, but she withdrew soon after.