Gorman wins Webbs seat, Little and Smithson retain spots on Brentwood commission
By Skip Anderson, Managing Editor
Mark Gorman led the vote count, with 2,425.
Photo by Skip Anderson
Challenger Mark Gorman, and incumbents Rhea Little and Regina Smithson will fill the three Brentwood commission seats based upon unofficial vote provided by the Williamson County Election Commission.
The outcome of the third and final vacancy on the commission was the horserace of the night, with only 81 votes separating Little (1,961), challenger Jay Galbreath (1,919) and Mayor Paul Webb (1,880). Gorman netted 2,434 votes; Smithson 2,363 and Jason Richardson 403.
Gorman, a healthcare executive and member of the Brentwood Planning Commission, staked his campaign largely upon a conservative zoning platform. Like the others in the race, Gorman is against loosening Brentwood’s famously restrictive residential zoning laws, which largely prohibit apartments and condominiums within city limits. He is currently a member of the Brentwood Planning Commission.
“This is a humbling experience,” Gorman told a roomful of supporters in the clubhouse of the Taramore subdivision off Split Loag Road. “We won the election, but this is just the beginning.”
Regina Smithson held onto her seat that she's held for 22 years.
Smithson, who has served as a Brentwood city commissioner for the past 22 years, also ran on a platform that staunchly supports the one lot/one acre residential zoning ordinance. She previously served as mayor and vice mayor of Brentwood. She was not immediately available for comment by telephone.
Little, owner of Rhea Little Tire & Auto Repair, has served on the commission for four years. He too supports the one lot/one acre residential zoning ordinance, and advocated for traffic mitigation during his campaign.
“I am thankful for the citizens of Brentwood that elected me to serve four more years,” Little said. “At one point, I considered not running again. My father is in bad health, and it’s a sacrifice that you make to your family and business to serve. However, once I decided to run again I was fully committed.”
Little addressed the dour tone that cropped up between candidates, particularly late in the race.
“I hope the negativity does not set a tone for the Brentwood commission,” he said “I do not want to tarnish the commission, we have always been professional.”
Outgoing Mayor Paul Webb has served on the commission since 2005.
“I’d like to say congratulations to the winners,” Webb told the Herald. “I am thankful to the citizens of Brentwood for enabling me to serve as commissioner, vice mayor and mayor for the past eight years.”
Rhea and Marie Little
Photo by Derby Jones
Although only 42 votes separated newcomer Galbreath from Little, he will not seek a recount.
“It was a great experience,” Galbreath said. “I had lots of people say how it was a positive campaign. A lot of people said there was a lot of negativity out there, but I don’t think that had anything to do with me. I’m proud of what we did.”
Galbreath said he may run for public office again.
“I’d definitely like to pursue something in the future, either in an elected office or another pursuit,” he said.
Early voting was strong, drawing more than 10 percent of Brentwood’s 28,586 registered voters to the polls. However, election-day turnout appeared to be low throughout the day.
“At the Brenthaven precinct, they've only had 165 voters as of 2:30 p.m.,” said Chad Gray, deputy administrator of the Williamson County Election Commission. “They should be blazing a trail [by then].” The Herald reported a low turnout this morning, as well. As of 8:20 a.m., only about 20 registered voters had turned out to vote at New Hope Community Church, according to election volunteers. En toto, 4,253 voters – about 16 percent – of registered voters cast ballots in the election.
Unofficial Vote Count
Mark Gorman 2,435
Regina Smithson* 2,363
Rhea Little* 1,961
Jay Galbreath 1,920
Paul Webb* 1,881
Jason Richardson 403
Derby Jones contributed to this story.
Posted on: 5/7/2013