Ward III Councilor Derrick Reed won a third term Thursday after he saw the three-day filing period for the 2020 municipal elections come to a close without drawing a challenger.
Alex Reynolds will succeed Ward II Councilor Dan Hall as the only filer for that post. Hall, who has served two terms representing Ward II on the Muskogee City Council, said he declared his candidacy on Monday only because he had heard there may be no filers for the post.
"I didn't want my seat to be empty if nobody filed, so I went ahead and filled out the paperwork on Monday," Hall said, noting the decision is one he has been considering more than a year. "I gave the city eight good years, and I just want to spend more time with my family."
Voters will get to decide on Feb. 11 who will fill four remaining seats on the Muskogee City Council that will be up for election next year. Those contests will include a crowded race for mayor, two Ward I posts — one of those is an election to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired term — and a Ward IV seat.
All four of the contested races are being defended by incumbents. Mayor Janey Boydston, who was appointed to her present position after Bob Coburn resigned to accept a state appointment as transportation commissioner, will wage her first campaign for that post against five challengers.
Among those challengers are Ward IV Councilor Marlon Coleman, two-time mayoral candidate Wayne Divelbiss, perennial council candidate John Lowrimore, James Winner and Tracy Cole. With six candidates competing for the mayoral post, a runoff election would appear likely.
Ward I Councilor Evelyn Hibbs, who was appointed to Boydston's post after she took the helm as mayor, is seeking election for the remaining two years of the unexpired term. She will defend against challenger Ashley Davis.
Ward I Councilor Patrick Cale drew two challengers in his bid for a second four-year term. Competing against Cale will be Stephanie Morgan and David Ragsdale Jr.
Ward IV Councilor Wayne Johnson, who is seeking a third term, also drew two challengers. The deputy mayor will be defending the seat against Traci McGee and James Webb.
Reed said he was excited about winning a third term without drawing a challenger and proud to have the opportunity to serve his constituents for another four years. He said the "best is yet to come."
"With support for our capital improvements and the school bonds passing, it's time for all hands on deck to take Muskogee back to the great place it should be economically," Reed said. "We definitely want to see improvements in our economy and jobs, and with our new team those should be the two main things we should be able to improve on."
Hall was elected to his first term in 2012, when labor issues motivated the decision of many Muskogee voters. Hall said he was proud of the work he and colleagues undertook during the subsequent eight years to "get the budget straightened out."
"I am really proud to have been a part of that process — that might have made voters the maddest — but fixing the water rates and the trash rates so we could get the budget straight was a big deal," Hall said. "We subsidized those rates for so long we couldn't give our workers any raises, so getting those balanced and the budget squared away was really important."
Hall said his main goal when he campaigned in 2012 was to help make Muskogee a place where his children would want to live and have families when they were older. The outgoing councilor said he believes there has been some success on that front, and now he wants to spend more time with his family before his children are grown.
Attempts to contact Reynolds were unsuccessful.