The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 15, 2014

Melson wins Senate runoff

Faces Democrat Mike Curtis in November

“Down to the wire.”

“Skin of the teeth.”

“It’s a wash.”

These were just some of the phrases being batted around Tuesday night before Tim Melson of Florence defeated Athens City Councilman Chris Seibert in the race for the District 1 state Senate seat.

Melson won with a total of 4,226 votes (56 percent) in Limestone, Lauderdale and Madison counties to Seibert’s 3,306 votes (44 percent), according to unofficial results.

As voting precincts reported results in Limestone County throughout the evening Tuesday, Seibert continually lead his challenger. Meanwhile, in Lauderdale County, Melson continually outpaced Seibert as precincts reported there.

The tightness of the race racked the nerves of Seibert supporters, who wanted to see a homegrown candidate represent them in Montgomery. Same for Melson supporters in Lauderdale. (District 1 covers parts of Limestone, Madison and Lauderdale counties.)

The decision came down to the man who could get his primary supporters to return to the polls and pick up the votes left in play in Madison County after Madison’s Jonathan Berryhill, of Anderson, was squeezed out of the senate race in the June 3 primary election.

In the end, it was Melson, 54, a Lauderdale County businessman and anesthesiologist, who did it. Melson lost only about 50 votes between the primary and the runoff in Lauderdale County, whereas Seibert lost about 1,000.

“I just want to thank Chris and his family for running such a good, clean race,” Melson said from his home in Florence after the runoff. “He did such an outstanding job.”

Melson also wished to reassure Limestone voters.

“I just want people in Limestone County not to worry that I am from Lauderdale,” Melson said. “I want everyone to think I live in their little community. I don’t want it to be a where-the-candidate’s-from race; I want it to be a what-the-candidate-is-going-to-do race. I look forward to getting out and meeting more people and talking about their concerns and work from there.”

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