Mayoral race battle enters 8th month

Written by: Bryan Henry - bio | email
Posted by: John Shryock - email

EVERGREEN, AL (WSFA) - Decision 2008 wrapped up over eight months ago, but try telling that to the people of one south Alabama town. The city of Evergreen is still in limbo, waiting to find out who its next mayor will be.

Friday the two sides appeared in court, again, looking for a resolution.

The courtroom was packed as approximately 70 people watched. More allegations unfolded surrounding the election between incumbent mayor Larry Fluker and opponent Pete Wolfe.

Wolfe, an Evergreen businessman, initially won the city's top job by a whopping two votes, but when the city council certified the votes, somehow the mayor ended up winning by two votes.

Wolfe sued claiming either misconduct, fraud or corruption during the election.

The search for the truth has been a long one, and it's been a journey that's starting to wear down voters like Annie Wiley. "I don't care who get it," she said. "It just need to be over."

Voter James Windham agreed adding, "I want the right person to win, and that would be the person who has the legitimate votes..."

For most of the day the court heard claims of people voting in the wrong district, although the judge ruled voting in the wrong district didn't really matter in the mayor's race.

Meantime, a handwriting expert testified that at least one signature on an absentee ballot application didn't match up with a signature on an affidavit.

Pete Wolfe's attorney James Anderson: "Richard Roper testified to...basically 24 forgeries..."

Fluker is the first black man to be elected mayor of Evergreen. Now in his second term while this drama is being played out, he concedes it's become a terrible distraction. "I'd rather not have to think about this everyday as I go about my daily responsibilities," he lamented. "If that's the way it has to be, so be it," he added.

Eight months and four hearings later, a final ruling probably won't come for another few weeks. Until then, Decision 2008 will continue to drag on well into 2009.