For an in-depth interview with Mayor-elect Bradi Diaz, see next week’s Copperas Cove Herald.
Bradi Diaz won the overwhelming support of Copperas Cove voters to become the city’s mayor for the second time.
Saturday night’s unofficial results show Diaz with 465 votes, enough to secure a majority and win the special election outright.
Diaz received more than 62% of the votes cast during the nine-day early election period, then added 130 votes Saturday.
Diaz received 61.92% of the total vote.
Voters were selecting someone to replace former Mayor Frank Seffrood, who died from cancer Dec. 28 at age 79. Seffrood had won re-election to a second term in a runoff election against opponent Azeita Taylor about three weeks before he died.
It’s a return to the mayor’s office for Diaz, who previously served in the post from 2004 to 2007. When she was elected in 2004, she was the first woman to serve as mayor and the youngest person ever elected as mayor.
Other numbers released by Coryell County Tax Assessor/Collector and Election Administrator Justin Carothers show runner-up Ron Nelson with 156 votes. Joey Acfalle finished in third place with 115, while Brandi Weiand finished fourth with 15 votes.
Elections results are unofficial until a canvass is of all votes is conducted by the city on May 7.
Once that happens, Diaz will be sworn in as mayor on May 21 and will serve out the remainder of Seffrood’s three-year term.
LOW VOTER TURNOUT
The election was decided by less than 5% of the city’s registered voters.
A total of 755 voters cast ballots out of the 19,548 Copperas Cove residents who are registered to vote.
That equals a 3.86% voter turnout.
Voter turnout for December’s runoff election between Seffrood and Taylor was just over 5%.
OUTSPENDING THE COMPETITION
Diaz outspent everyone else in the race on her way to becoming mayor.
Last week, Diaz confirmed that she had raised $5,170 and spent $3,648 during her campaign.
Acfalle, Nelson and Weiand each said they raised no money for their campaigns while spending a combined total of around $100.
Diaz was grateful after learning she’d gotten the most votes Saturday.
“Of course, I’m excited about winning,” she said as her family huddled around her after learning the results. “I’m thankful for everyone who came out and voted for me...there was just a tremendous amount of support from my family and my friends, of course,” Diaz said.
She also thanked the Copperas Cove community for their support.
“I’m ready,” Diaz said, “ready to get back into the swing of things and to do whatever I can to make Copperas Cove better.”
Runner-up Ron Nelson was happily surprised with his second-place finish, but was unhappy with the total voter turnout for the election.
“We have to improve that,” Nelson said. “If I decide to pursue this in the future, part of it will be getting the vote out. I think there’s a lot of apathy...and we need to break that cycle.”
He doesn’t plan to fade away now that he’s gotten a taste of politics.
“I was telling my wife, this is just the end of the beginning,” Nelson said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, getting out there and talking to people.”
Third-place candidate Joey Acfalle was out of town Saturday night. In a statement, he congratulated Diaz on her showing in the election.
“I wish the best to the new mayor (and) especially to the other candidates for taking the step to run for office, and to the citizens of Copperas Cove who (have) taken the time to vote,” Acfalle said.
Fourth-place candidate Brandi Weiand said she took a chance in running for mayor and isn’t sure politics is in her future. Still, she would like to see change come to Copperas Cove.
“One thing I do know is that I’m unhappy with what I see in my town,” Weiand said. “Since I’ve been an adult, our government in Copperas Cove...I just haven’t been impressed with it. I know Copperas Cove can do bigger, better, greater things. I don’t know that Copperas Cove is ready to do (that). And that’s okay.”
For now she plans to concentrate on her education with a view to returning to academics and teaching.