Just 16 months after voters reelected Vernon Woods to Piedmont’s Ward 2 council seat, voters decided to go with a different man in Tuesday’s recall election.
With 53 percent of the vote, Bobby Williamson beat Woods (37 percent) and Don Rubley (9 percent), becoming the fifth person to be elected to the council in less than two years.
Woods’ ouster was also the second time in 14 months that a Piedmont councilman had been recalled from office.
“I’m excited about it,” Williamson said in a phone interview with the Piedmont Citizen minutes after his victory. “I look forward to serving Ward 2 and Piedmont.”
Woods won reelection to the council last year by a wide margin, taking 68 percent of 205 votes. Tuesday’s election saw an even higher turnout with 262 votes cast.
Since Woods last won election a proposed wind farm near Piedmont has created some controversy and a local grassroots organization was created to fight the project. Volunteers with the Central Oklahoma Property Rights Association claimed Woods was meeting with wind energy officials in an attempt to bring turbines to Piedmont, although Woods denied those allegations and has repeatedly said that he is against bringing turbines to the city.
Woods declined to comment Tuesday night.
Williamson wouldn’t say if he thought the wind farm issue was the driving force behind his victory, but said he believed a variety of factors influenced voters on Tuesday.
“We worked really hard,” Williamson said. “I want to thank my friends and my family and my supporters.”
Recall elections are becoming habit in Piedmont as voters in Ward 5 faced a recall last year (Donnie Robinson beat Wade Johnson) and another recall petition was filed against former councilman Hoss Cooley in 2011. A county judge later threw out the Cooley recall. The past two years has seen a complete change on the council with five new members being elected since 2012.