, 2015

Kilmarnock elects new mayor;
Smith, Gravatt, Allen and Westbrook win

by Renss Greene

KILMARNOCK—Voters in Kilmarnock took to the polls on Tuesday, May 6, looking for a change.

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According to unofficial State Board of Elections results, council member Mae Umphlett won 238 votes, 55% of the ballots cast, to take the mayoral seat. She defeated incumbent Raymond Booth who had 198 votes.

“Being the first female mayor of Kilmarnock, I want people to have confidence in me and be supportive, and know that I’ll do my very best,” Umphlett said.

“I think my first order is to establish solid leadership and bring calm and professional decorum to the council,” she added.

Booth was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Three Kilmarnock council seats were up for election, those now held by Umphlett, vice mayor Emerson Gravatt and Shawn Donahue.

Planning commission chair and former vice mayor and mayor Dr. Curtis Smith was returned to council with 252 votes, the most among all of the candidates.

“I’m just trying to reestablish some decorum in the meetings, and talk to everybody and get a good working relationship going with everybody,” Smith said. “I think that’s really one of the things that’s been missing the last couple of years.”

“I think there will be far less grandstanding,” he added, “and we’re excited about having Mae Umphlett as our next mayor.”

Smith was followed in voting by Gravatt with 234 votes and planning commissioner Chris Allen with 228. Incumbent Shawn Donahue lost his seat, winning 198 votes, and newcomer James Evans Sr. lost with 191 votes.

“I think what we need to do first is sit down and prioritize what is needed most for the town, and a lot goes into that, with health and safety first,” Allen said. “Then you start looking at the financial side of it, and then you get into the last portions of, not the need part, but what do we want.”

Allen said he will distinguish himself as an “independent thinker.”

Donahue and Gravatt were unavailable for comment Wednesday morning.

Kilmarnock’s officials will take office July 1. Umphlett will resign her council seat at that time.


Frances Westbrook, treasurer of Irvington’s Village Improvement Association and wife of school board chairman Dr. Robert Westbrook, won Irvington’s special election for the remaining two years of an unexpired term. Westbrook took home 66 votes, 42%. She was followed by Jim Haynie with 52 votes and Michelle Lybarger with 28 votes.

“They’re in the middle of the budget process, so that’s going to be my first personal order of business, to get up to speed on that,” Westbrook said. She also said the new council will have to look at alternate sources of revenue.

“If this quaint little place is going to continue in the direction we’ve been going, which is a lot of community involvement, we’re going to have to look at some more resources for revenue,” she said. “Not that we have a revenue problem, it’s just that if we’re going to continue going in the direction we’re going, we’re going to have to find some more money.”

With Bill Evans withdrawing from the race for a full-term seat due to health reasons, there were three candidates for three council seats. Wayne Nunnaly was the most popular candidate with voters, winning 117 votes. Jerry Latell followed with 106 votes and Michael Merrill won 92 votes.

Westbrook must take her oath within 30 days according to the rules of the special election.

Other officials in Irvington will take office in September.

White Stone

White Stone had two candidates running for three council seats. The third seat was vacated by council member Randy Reeves’ run for mayor. Returning for another term are incumbents Joe Sliakis with 28 votes and Irving Brittingham with 20 votes.

For the third council seat there were 16 votes cast for write-in candidates, but at press time the names were not yet known. If there is a winner among write-in votes, that person can accept or decline the position. If the seat is not filled, the council can appoint a new member, subject to approval by the circuit court.

Reeves ran unopposed for mayor, winning 31 votes.

White Stone officials will take office in September.


Mae P. Umphlett 238
Raymond C. Booth Jr. 198

Curtis Henry Smith 252
Emerson L. Gravatt 234
Christopher L. Allen 228
Shawn E. Donahue 198
James G. Evans, Sr. 191

White Stone
Randy S. Reeves 31

Stanley J. "Joe" Sliakis 28
Irving T. Brittingham 20
write-in 16

R. Wayne Nunnaly 117
Jerry S. Latell 106
Michael E. Merrill 92
William H. Evans III 3
write-in 1

Council - Special election
Frances E. Westbrook 66
W. James "Jim" Haynie III 52
Michelle M. Lybarger 38

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