Former Alabama House Democratic leader Craig Ford won Gadsden's mayoral election on Tuesday.
Ford garnered a substantial victory against opponent Heather New in a runoff election, receiving 3,308 votes — roughly 62% of the total. New collected 2,053 votes or just over 38%.
Ford told the Gadsden Times he received a "gracious" concession speech.
"[New] has some great ideas, so did Robert Avery and the other candidates," Ford said. "We want to try to bring everybody together."
New ended her campaign expressing a united vision to see the city succeed.
"It's time for us to unite and get behind our newly elected leaders and move Gadsden forward," New told the Gadsden Times. "I gave it my all, and I'm proud of the race I ran. I'm still here to help Gadsden in any way I can,"
New was critical of Ford's campaign tactics throughout the election cycle.
After the runoff was announced, a bevy of negative campaign advertisements and a poll targeting New was conducted.
Ford reportedly gave nearly $14,000 to the Matrix Group, a political consulting firm with a reputation for using negative campaign tactics on behalf of its clients.
New told 1819 News she believes Ford was attempting to conceal his Democratic roots to garner support from conservative voters in the city. She also said Ford failed to make the election about issues, choosing instead to make "personal attacks."
"It does seem he would like others to forget his past because he was the House minority leader when he stepped down from the party," New said. "It appears he stepped down from the party because he felt his chances to win a senate race would be better as an independent; I don't know why he would think that."
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