It’s now been six weeks since the Aug. 25 Municipal Election that left four seats open on the Fort Payne City Council.

On Tuesday, Fort Payne residents will go back to the polls to choose four candidates from the remaining eight that are in the run off.

Voters were clear in their confidence for Walter Watson, who needed 1,023 votes to secure a seat and received 1,060. Out of the 18 candidates, however, he was the only one to succeed. Watson served on the council for 20 years before deciding not to run for reelection in 2016. In a statement to The Times-Journal after his win, Watson said Fort Payne “has left no question about its progressiveness by putting minorities in prominent positions”. Walter will serve as council president for the next four years.

The election did narrow down the prospects to eight other people for voters to choose from:

• Smith, Phillip

• Eberhart, Johnny

• Ham, Randall

• Hill, Wade

• Brewer, Lynn

• Magbie, Charlene

• Ingle, Roger

• Smith, John

Three of the eight candidates currently serve on the council and are seeking reelection: Brewer, Eberhart and Hill. Brian Baine, the current council president, was elected as mayor without opposition.

Aside from the general importance in the municipal election for the county seat, the 2020-24 council will face an abundance of new challenges and advancements. Our country is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, to what extent, no one is completely sure of yet. This council will lead the city out of whatever problems we will continue to face in the months and years ahead. Most importantly, they will be helping our small town businesses, local industries and communities come back to a sense of normalcy, one we haven’t had for some time.

We won’t tell you how to vote, but instead, we encourage you to vote for the candidates that you trust. To view video footage from the candidate forum our staff hosted in August, visit

— Our View is the opinion of the Times-Journal’s editorial board, which includes Publisher Tricia Dunne and Managing Editor Emily Kirby.

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