Leader Blues

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

TOP STORY >>Hillman, Harmon in runoff

Leader staff writer

The five-candidate race for Sherwood mayor is down to two—the interim mayor and the city clerk. City Clerk Virginia Hillman bested interim Mayor Bill Harmon by 10 votes on Tuesday, but neither was able to get 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

The runoff election will be July 31, and early voting will start Monday at the Pulaski County Courthouse, according to election commission officials.

With all 10 precincts reporting, Hillman collected 1,252 votes, or 32.4 percent, followed by Harmon with 1,242 votes, or 32.2 percent, and Richard Devine with 926 votes or 24 percent.

Doris Anderson had 403 votes, or 10.4 percent, and Victor Sierra had 37 votes, or 1 percent.

Harmon, 80, said he felt he ran a strong campaign. “We figured we’d be in a runoff, and we figured it would be with Virginia, but thought we’d be on top going in. We now have three hard weeks of work to get our message out,” Harmon said
Hillman, 43, was pleased with the results and said the next three weeks will be very busy. “We are on our way and think we’ll be successful,” she said.

Harmon served 10 years as a city alderman, then 14 years as mayor, opting to retire rather than run again in 2006.
Alderman Dan Stedman won the mayor’s spot, but resigned in April, citing health issues. Harmon was appointed the interim mayor a week later. Hillman was first appointed to city clerk in 2001. Hillman was re-elected to that position in 2002 and 2006.

Devine, 54, a realty specialist and negotiator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, said he was disappointed and elated all in the same light with the results of his first run for public office. “It was a positive experience and I met a lot of good people,” Devine said.

Anderson, 52, an applications and systems manager with the Arkansas Department of Labor, also felt good about her campaign. “I’ll continue to be the same outspoken person I have always been, plus now I have more than 400 new friends in the city,” Anderson said. Sierra, 57, retired from the Air Force and Union Pacific, called the race a learning experience. “I got a chance to talk to a lot of people, I plan to stay involved and may