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Bradley elected Grambling mayor

Defeats incumbent Jones
Nancy Bergeron
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
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Grambling voters have elected a new mayor.

Alvin Bradley, a former purchasing director at Grambling State University, unseated three-term Mayor Edward Jones in Tuesday’s election, winning 51% of the vote in a four-candidate field.

“It feels great,” Bradley said. “We ran a positive campaign. We’re very pleased with the results."

He said he will begin strategic planning immediately to transition into the mayor’s office. The new term begins Jan. 1.

Complete but unofficial returns show Bradley with 383 votes to Jones’ 247 votes. That gave Jones 33% of the total 753 votes cast.

Councilman Toby Bryan, who gave up his seat to run for mayor, came in a distant third with 62 votes, or 8% of the total. Leshaun “Yummy” Johnson, rounded out the field with 61 votes, also 8% of the total.

In the race for the five seats on the Grambling City Council, four members appear to have been elected outright, but the fifth may go into a runoff.

Delores Wilkerson Smith, Devaria Hudson Ponton, John F. Brown, Jr., and incumbent Cathy Holmes each apparently polled enough votes to win. But, as of late Tuesday night, the fate of the fifth seat remained unclear.

According to Louisiana election law, races in which there are two more seats to be filled, the number of votes needed to win has to be greater than the total votes cast divided by the number of candidate in the race, then divided again by two.

That appears to put contenders Jerry Lewis and Karen Ludley in a runoff. Of the two, Lewis won 317 votes to Ludley’s 304. Percentage-wise, each won 10% of the vote.

Smith led the field with 455 votes, or 14%, followed by Brown with 447, also 14%. Ponton won 418 votes, or 13%, and Holmes, 364 votes, or 11%.

Holmes was one of two incumbents in the field. The other, Phyllis Miller, got 290 votes, or 9% of the total.  

In the mayor’s race, Bradley, a Democrat, led from the start. He carried 60% of the early vote to Jones’ 31%. Bradley maintained his strong lead in the in-person election day balloting.

Bradley ran on a platform of change.

He pledged to build a reliable water and sewer infrastructure that will support current and future growth in Grambling, to be intentional with programs within parks and recreation to enhance the lifestyles all Grambling residents, to assist and support local business owners, to attract potential new and start-up businesses for Grambling, to partner with Grambling State University on strategic initiatives for infrastructure improvement projects and business economic opportunities, to improve the city’s fire rating, and to be transparent in all city business.

Bradley is a former two-term city councilman.

Jones, also a Democrat and also a former two-term councilman, was first elected in 2010, following the turbulent second term of former Mayor Martha Andrus. He was Grambling’s mayor pro tem.

At the end of the 2010 primary, Jones lead a seven-person field, that included Andrus. He won 68% of the vote in that year’s primary to become mayor.

Four years later, he again faced Andrus as his lone opponent and won with 62% of the vote. Jones was unopposed in 2018.

Jones and the incumbent council wrangled over adopting the 2022 budget. After several failed tries to get the city’s budget approved, Jones sued the council, seeking to force it to act.

Council members subsequently OK’d the spending plan exactly as Jones had presented it. The outgoing mayor has also complained about what he sees as strained relationships with GSU, especially over the university’s acquiring from the state a portion of Main Street that runs through both the middle of the city and the middle of campus.